Usain Bolt on Expedia's big stage

BY ARLENE MARTIN-WILKINS Associate editor — news

Friday, December 13, 2013    

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Jamaican track superstar Usain Bolt made an unusual, yet brief, appearance at the opening of the 14th annual partners conference of online travel agency (OTA) Expedia Inc, held yesterday at the luxury hotel and casino, Caesar's Palace, on the Vegas Strip.

Bolt's appearance came as part of a slide show that was projected on a massive screen in the Colosseum -- a theatre which plays home to some of the biggest acts in entertainment, including Elton John, Celine Dion, Cher and Shania Twain.

Expedia Inc's President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi used a still clip of Bolt's exploits at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as he crossed the finish line well ahead of his competitors, to demonstrate the company's position as market leader in the online travel industry. The slide show formed the basis of his presentation to the nearly 3,000 partner representatives about how the company, which has experienced double-digit growth in the first three quarters of 2013, is positioned to further bolster its reach, earnings and dominance in the growing market.

According to Khosrowshahi, Expedia has managed to stay ahead of its competitors, largely because of its strategic assets in its brand, human resources, and its constant embrace of new technologies that augment the shopping experience of clients. Additionally, the OTA's emergent approach to its strategic plans has enabled it to respond quickly to changes in the business environment.

"Instead of trying to predict the future, we are building a company that is innovative, agile, and fast," Khosrowshahi emphasised.

"We are building a company that can react to the future quickly," he added, stressing that this has allowed partners on the supply side, including properties in Jamaica, to focus on their core operations.

The conference was held under the theme 'Travel Rising' to underscore the significance of "innovation, technology, and partnership" to the success of the changing travel industry.





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