Gearing up for a resurgence in travel, Seattle-based Expedia Group is refreshing its flagship Expedia brand with updated features across the company’s mobile app and more than 70 websites.
As more people plan and book flights and hotel stays as COVID-19 vaccination rates increase, Expedia wants to be part of the trip, launching a new ad campaign that touts its planning expertise, with the tagline, “It matters who you travel with.”
Expedia Group includes travel brands such as Vrbo, Orbitz, Hotwire, Trivago, Hotels.com, and Egencia in addition to Expedia.com. The pandemic took an extraordinary toll on the company’s business amid the massive slowdown in global travel. Annual revenue fell 57% to $5.2 billion in 2020, and gross bookings fell 66% to $36.7 billion.
“The past year was tough on everyone — emotionally, financially, even physically,” Expedia said in a post about the changes. “The pandemic affected many people’s travel plans, seemingly all at once, and we weren’t as prepared as we would have liked. But we listened, and we learned.”
The 25-year-old company says it conducted “deep customer research to understand and address critical traveler pain points.” Changes detailed in a news release include:
A new itinerary experience that allows travelers to see all the details of their trip in one place.
A “keep planning” feature in the app to help travelers pick up where they left off and play back recent searches and bookings.
A new offering coming soon to provide “pre-bundled products” (flights + accommodation + activities) with upfront total pricing.
Plans to simplify the insurance experience including translating the policy wording into easy-to-digest content, improving the process of submitting claims and more.
Continued investment in the virtual agent platform and the “one-click cancel” function where travelers can cancel their entire trip or ask a virtual agent questions about their itinerary.
To help travelers discover and experience more of the destination, travelers can now see the popular activities near their accommodation on the accommodation details page.
Expedia is also launching a global creative campaign that marks its largest marketing spend in more than five years. American actor, writer, director and producer Rashida Jones (a pal of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates) stars in spots as a physical embodiment of Expedia, representing the brand’s new attributes — intuitive, travel-savvy and positive.
The New York Times previously reported on how a spike in summer airfares can be seen as a sign of optimism about the pace of recovery from the pandemic.
“As travelers 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 travelers from start to finish,” Shiv Singh, senior vice president and general manager of Expedia said in a statement.
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