Expedia: Find Yours
Agency: 180la Los Angeles
Advertiser: Expedia, Inc
"UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS A CROWN"
Fifteen years ago, Expedia revolutionized the travel industry and created an entirely new category as the first-ever OLTA (Online Travel Agency). Over the years, the category thrived with new entrants. In 2011, Expedia still dominated the market with 98% brand awareness, 15% first choice consideration, and 42% of US bookings1. While Expedia had easily held the #1 position for years, key competitors were quickly gaining ground, jeopardizing the brand's lead.
With more brands fighting for revenue, the category became increasingly more commoditized with every brand focused on deals, flash sales and promotions. Brands (Expedia included) resorted to gimmicks and characters/spokesmen (e.g. Priceline's Price Negotiator and Travelocity's Gnome) to appeal to consumers. As a result, the category was a wholly undifferentiated, muddled sea of sameness. Brands had lots of characters, but no character. Years of these price-driven promotions and short-term tactics taught consumers to only search for the best price with zero brand loyalty. It had become a category that spoke to people's heads/wallets, when travel is an experience that speaks to people's hearts.