Expedia Group’s new CEO isn’t mincing words about one of the company’s biggest challenges: Google’s dual role as a rival in online travel, and a key source of customers through search traffic and paid advertising. From a report: “I think Google’s a problem — it’s a problem for everyone who sells something online, and we all have to struggle with that,” Peter Kern said during an appearance on CNBC on Friday morning, following his first earnings report as the CEO of the Seattle-based online travel giant. His comments come amid reports that U.S. antitrust regulators are preparing a case against the search giant, focusing on its dominance of digital ads. This Google conundrum is a recurring topic for Expedia Group, but Kern appears to be taking a different approach than his predecessor Mark Okerstrom did before he was ousted from the role last fall. Appearing on CNBC this morning, Kern says Expedia needs to learn to rely less on performance marketing, a form of advertising in which the cost is based on a specific outcome such as a click or sales lead.
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