As it prepares for the return of travel demand, Expedia is setting out in a new direction, launching a new global positioning grounded in the understanding that who you travel with matters.
Expedia’s renewed commitment to travellers comes on the heels of what has arguably been one of the toughest years for the travel industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After months of conducting deep customer research to understand and address critical traveller pain points, the new positioning marks a pivotal moment for the brand as it looks to overhaul its business to better cater to travellers who value maximizing their time and want to get the most out of their overall travel experience.
From an updated look and feel to enhanced product offerings, Expedia is looking to double down on efforts to deliver on travellers’ evolving wants and needs in a post-pandemic world.
Shiv Singh, senior vice president and general manager, Expedia Brand, explained that: “For the past 25 years, we’ve been focused on volume and transactions as our way of growing our business. What we’ve found however, over the past year, is that our customers want more from a travel company. They want a trusted partner who is there with them every step of the way, supporting them to ensure they get the most out of their trips.”
Singh continued: “Like many travel brands, COVID-19 has forced us all to look inwards and reflect on who we are as a brand and what that means to our consumers. It became clear to us that in order for our travellers to have an amazing trip, it matters who they travel with, and we need to understand the important role we play in being that partner.”
He also pointed out that: “As travellers adjust to the new norms post-COVID, we must adjust as well, and this is just the first chapter in a multi-year journey to really deliver against our mission of being a brand that is there for travellers from start to finish.”
To start with, Expedia is refreshing its platform experience across its mobile app and over 70 websites.
New home screens reflect a clear and simple layout, with product features that will empower travellers to build a complete trip that suits their needs and interests, bringing together multiple trip elements seamlessly.
Along with the ability to purchase flights, lodging, cars, activities and more on a single platform, Expedia introduces a series of updates aligned to its brand vision of being the ultimate travel companion:
Everything in one place:
- A new itinerary experience now allows travellers to see all the details of their trip in one place, be it on the mobile app or web, saving time and making future travel planning convenient for those who recognize the value in booking all of their travel elements on a single platform.
- Available now on the Expedia mobile app, travellers have the ability to pick up where they left off with a ‘keep planning’ feature that plays back recent searches as well as recent bookings to help travellers build a complete trip.
- Expedia will soon be launching a new package offering that will provide ‘pre-bundled products’ (flights + accommodation + activities) with upfront total pricing, reducing the stress of sifting through thousands of options while still allowing for easy customization such as adding or removing travel components.
Support from start to finish:
- The insurance offering at Expedia will evolve over the coming months with a vision of unlocking an industry-leading customer experience. Over the course of the year, Expedia will simplify the insurance experience including translating the policy wording into easy-to-digest content, improving the process of submitting claims through clear steps on documents required as well as the status and next steps once a claim is submitted. It also means enhancing coverage, adding broader functionality and delivering value in real-time by monitoring the events of a user’s trip journey for claim eligibility.
- Expedia will also continue to invest in its virtual agent platform. Through the ‘one-click cancel’ function, travellers can cancel their entire trip or ask the virtual agent questions about their itinerary, including viewing the health and hygiene information for a particular hotel for fast resolution and no wait times.
- To help travellers discover and experience more of the destination, travellers can now see the popular activities near their accommodation on the accommodation details page. The activities will be available post-booking and in-trip to help travellers easily identify ways to continue maximizing their trip.
Getting the most out of every trip:
- Expedia’s Expedia Rewards program will be simplified by merging with the existing account setup process, allowing 25 million travellers who were not already enrolled in Expedia’s loyalty program to start earning points on travel experiences the next time they log in. Expedia will be introducing additional benefits to the Expedia Rewards loyalty program over the course of the year making it easier for travellers to understand how they can earn and use points while providing a richer program offering.
- In an effort to help travellers find the right flight and fare type to deliver the best travel experience that suits their needs, Expedia recently embarked on a new flight shopping experience to provide travellers with a clear view of their flight options so they can make informed choices. Whether it’s knowing if a carry-on bag is allowed or seat selection is available, these small details are incredibly important to travellers and a clear opportunity for Expedia to help customers find the best flight experience.
- Expedia recently launched the ability to shop by lodging amenities – a first for the travel industry. Previously, many of the features included in each room rate were bundled such as parking or a complimentary breakfast, making it difficult for travellers to compare and fully understand what they were getting in their booking. Travellers can now shop with confidence as Expedia explicitly calls out the difference in pricing for amenities to take the guesswork out of what’s included in a displayed rate.
Along with enhancing its platform, Expedia will also be unveiling its new global creative across multiple touch-points supported by the brand’s largest marketing spend in more than five years. Using a singular creative platform and a new tagline “It matters who you travel with” travellers will see the idea of Expedia as the ultimate travel companion come through in unique ways across various channels, creating a cohesive message that will resonate as people start traveling again.
A new approach for 2021, the Canada film creative will feature American actor, writer, director and producer, Rashida Jones, and the U.K. and European spots will feature English actor Naomie Harris. Both will serve as perfect representations of Expedia’s new brand attributes – intuitive, travel-savvy and positive.
Using relatable and empowering individuals such as Jones and Harris, the global creative puts companionship at the core of its narrative. Through the creative’s brilliant scripting and song-writing, Jones and Harris will engage with travellers to deliver inspiration and support in an upbeat and uplifting way. The result is an anthem spot that highlights the importance of being an empowering travel companion for all.
As Singh sees it: “Our new brand positioning acts as a promise to the traveller who wants to be engaged by possibilities, but now more than ever needs to feel supported throughout their journey. We know that people want to get back to travel, we want them to feel confident in the travel experience they can have with Expedia.”