Yang Gao ’16 pitched Expedia Inc. (EXPE) to the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) on February 3, 2016. Expedia is the second largest online travel service provider in the world, in terms of booking volumes. It operates a variety of online travel portals which offer its customers diversified services depending on market demand. Expedia drives its business by either acting as a travel agent and charging a commission for every transaction or by acting as a merchant and purchasing the travel inventory (plane tickets and hotel rooms) from travel providers in bulk at discounted prices and selling back to customers at a premium. Yang expressed optimism in consumer discretionary spending and stressed the company’s diversified business model as a catalyst for driving growth. The class responded cautiously and were weary of entering a new consumer discretionary sub-sector in the midst of high market volatility and the emergence of the Zika virus. In the end, the pitch missed passing by a single vote and we will look to evaluate new positions moving forward.