Expedia Boss Trashes His Employees, Says Work From Home Is A Crock

Expedia Chairman Barry Diller called work from home “kind of stupid” as well as being “a crock.” He claims that ”sitting at a laptop computer at a dining room table” doesn’t lead to innovation.

Speaking at Skift Global he said that the company, which had just opened a new 600,000 square foot $900 million headquarters at the end of 2019, had work from home imposed it – or else in the current jobs environment he’d lose too many people.

Diller presumably longs for a world of higher unemployment, where he doesn’t need to make such concessions. However I’d point out that,

  • Even before work from home Expedia had among the world’s worst customer service. They regularly put Comcast to shame.

  • I’ve been using Expedia since shortly after it was launched from within Microsoft in fall 1996, and I’ve seen very little innovation from them in the last 25 years. They simply haven’t made the process of booking – or for that matter, knowing what to book to best meet your travel needs, meaningful better during that time.

  • They developed a plan to cut 3000 jobs or around 12% of their workforce prior to the pandemic based on disappointing 2019 financial results, so how innovative can Diller believe they were working in-office? At the time he described the company as “sclerotic and bloated” and called Expedia employees “all life and no work.”

Do your travel research on Expedia if you’d like but for goodness sakes don’t book through them. If you need another reason to avoid Expedia how about their holding onto customer refunds even when airlines were willing to give money back during the pandemic?

Diller has been bashing his own employees, and blaming them for lack of innovation, efficiency and profitability even before work from home. Work from home is just the latest excuse for the Expedia boss, and he should instead look at the company’s leadership and priorities – and actually consider focusing on delivering a better product to customers. For some reason, though, Diller’s Expedia awarded its CEO $296 million so he actually must thing the company’s current direction is the right one.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The most innovative idea of the last two decades – cryptocurrency – came out of a solo authored paper. Not sure if written on a laptop in a dining room table, maybe it was a desktop in the living room corner.

    Working from home does sacrifice things. Net net, it is a huge force for good in most companies.

    If your work is primarily talking to people, then of course, face to face is the way to go. If your work is primarily what we normally picture when we think of working, then it may be even better to do it from home.

  2. This very blog View From The Wing is produced from home, I assume. It has made the author a multi millionaire. Imagine if the author was forced to commute to the House of Miles to write his posts. That’s equally as foolish as Expedia asking his minions to commute.

  3. Like Jorge, I too am surprised Diller is still alive. Expedia is a joke to real travellers. It caters to the ignorant, who have no other criteria than ‘cheap, cheap, cheap’. All Expedia’s profits are spent on slick advertising to the masses. No innovation could possibly get a savvy traveller to book through them. I know many have been lucky in the past, but when things blow up during a trip and Expedia is involved, reality emerges. Expedia is VERY good at pointing fingers, their customer service (if I can even call it that) specializes in getting people off the phone as quickly as possible.

  4. The software engineering market is as bad as it’s ever been for engineers and yet they can still demand WFH. A recession won’t change that for engineers, maybe it will for other folks.

  5. @ Gary — Yeah, I went to Costco today while WFH, and it was packed at 1030 am on a Thursday. I’m guessing everyone else was WFH, too. Time for WFH to wind down.

  6. “…had work from home imposed it – or else in the current jobs environment he’d lose too many people.”

    He’s correct about it being “imposed on him”, along with other companies who were forced, by governments or openly embraced the CovidCon for monetary gain. When you dance with the devil, expect to get burned.

  7. @ Gary — Whatever you do, don’t book a Hertz rental through Expedia. You are certain to land in prison.

  8. He’s right.

    All these lazy people crying about having to work or not making enough can easily replaced.

    There are hundreds of thousands of people on the southern border willing to do their jobs for less than half. Might be time to open the border and let some more gracious and humble people in.

  9. Expedia was always worse than Travelocity & orbitz, even from inception. Kayak is far more useful now.

  10. He might be right about that for some companies and some jobs.

    But no amount of returning to the office will fix Expedia’s problems.

  11. If Barry had a business that did more than consolidate readily available information, and employed anybody empowered to actually HELP CUSTOMERS, he would have standing to prefer they were at a corporate office. When this idiot hires drones, order takers, phone jockeys, and never provides a SERVICE to his customers (instead leaving them hanging and alone, as anyone who has irregular ops or an anomaly happen on an Expedia-booked itinerary understands) he can complain and order them in. If all he expects is a warm body (half the time in Pakistan) to answer the phone and read from scripts, he can get stuffed.

  12. Microsoft’s CEO recently came out and said employers shouldn’t be spying on their remote-working employees as there are better ways to try to handle productivity concerns in the workforce.

    Diller is probably upset that his idea of eye-candy doesn’t come around the office areas as much as before and so he has to resort to NSFW online entertainment instead but can’t get his kicks at home Jeffrey Toobin style.

  13. Diller’s idea of “eye-candy” is probably not what most people think. Try reading his Wikipedia entry.

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