Remember travel agents? You know, those nice people in little offices that you actually visited in person to book your vacation?
They've largely been replaced with such online travel services as Orbitz, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Travelocity, and Expedia. In fact, these online brands have become so commoditized that they're all beginning to look very much alike, offering similar services and prices. It might be why Hotels.com, which is owned by Expedia, threw an unusual Facebook party recently.
Now Expedia UK is making a concerted effort to differentiate itself from its competition with a new brand campaign that puts the focus on its people instead of prices or features of its trip offerings.
The campaign is part of what the company calls the "Expedia Everywhere" strategy — seeking to redefine the service as more than a booking engine, but rather a "trusted travel partner." It centers around a concept the brand calls "People-Shaped Travel."
Expedia aims to portray its staff as a team of experienced people who are focused on providing customers with the best possible travel experience. To do that, the new brand campaign will highlight the people themselves who are behind the brand. Actual Expedia employees will appear in the ads.
The first ad in a series features a scene depicting an Expedia employee about to depart on a trip. Other employees ask him if he has packed various things that he needs. The interesting aspect of the television commercial is that each of the employees asks the traveler questions in different languages, and he responds to each in his own language, obviously demonstrating that the staff is deeply multilingual and multicultural. The ad has a humorous twist at the end and closes with the tag line, "We're powered by people who travel."
The ad started appearing in the UK last week and will soon spread across Europe to Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. It will eventually be supported by other media, including radio, print, online and social media across Europe. YouTube and Facebook will used to offer consumers an inside look at Expedia as well as to show travelers' experiences that took place because of Expedia.
Andrew Warner, Senior Marketing Director, EMEA, for Expedia, joined the company last February, following on from his marketing role at LG. According to Warner:
This campaign is the culmination of an extensive pan-European consumer research study, which highlighted that customers are seeking reassurance and a greater level of personal engagement with travel brands. We believe that co-creation of new services with consumers is a key to the future of travel so this campaign aims to reduce the barriers to engaging with Expedia by creating a more personal relationship with the company and the people who will be making your holiday happen.
"We want people to see that Expedia can offer relevant and compelling solutions for travelers because we are all passionate travelers ourselves and understand the needs of our community. 'People Shaped Travel' is not just a superficial advertising end-line, we are making a major commitment to delivering a more customer-centric approach in all aspects of the Expedia business. A key part of this is allowing customers to shape and co-create the kind of travel services they want from us now and in the future."