Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wowed or turned off by Expedia?

A few things happening at Expedia this week. One that consumers will see immediately is a pretty pricey advertising campaign, costing the online travel agency £3.5 million (including £2.5 million just in media spend - TV, print, online et al).

One of the more unusual elements of the campaign, timed to coincide with Expedia's second busiest month for bookings (July), will be the branding-o-rama of Waterloo station in London.

A pedestrian tunnel underneath the station, from the Network Rail platforms to the London Underground station, has been transformed into an oasis of "Let Yourself Go".

The question is whether such an enormous and in-your-face piece of branding [which probably cost a pretty penny as well] will work or not?

It is certainly very striking... What do you think?

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Steve E said...

I think Expedia are finding themselves to be less 'front of mind' than previously. Most likely due to the increased competition online and attempts by tour ops to regain market share. Looks like an attempt to get into more consumers consideration for travel purchases.

It'll certainly stand out and is a good exercise in brand building. Personally I wouldn't go to the trouble of something so large without adding some kind of viral aspect. This is going to be seen by the same people day after day, what it really needs is an edge to draw people to that station to see it who wouldn't normally go there.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the biz too, so its always difficult to gauge how a punter perceives an ad campaign, but there is something not quite right about Expedia's consumer-facing activity in the UK. The TV advert with Hugh Laurie - to me, sat at home - was very dull - how many voiceovers was Hugh Laurie doing at the time. Is this an advert for loo roll or an online travel company.

The Waterloo campaign seems extremely limited, surely just visible to the same people every day who use the tunnel in question. If it is the tunnel between network rail and the tube, it will be visible to commuters coming in from the south west.

[Interestingly, i just had a look at networkrail.co.uk to see if i could find a map showing me what services operate to and from Waterloo, but i couldn't find one.]

While the footfall numbers might be impressive, what about the 'unique footfall'? It would be rude of me to say that Expedia just looked at the numbers without analysing them.

David Ourisman said...

I'd be interested in seeing Expedia's profit-and-loss statement. I imagine it's extraordinarily expensive keeping a GDS going and working. The content is dynamic, and technological glitches have to be numerous. The only way to pay for their technology and make a profit is through generating volume.

Not only is expedia in competition with orbitz, travelocity, and the sites of hotel chains themselves, perhaps their most significant competition is old-fashioned travel agents (like myself). I can often provide lower prices, better amenities, and personal service.