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.