Expedia centers rebrand around mobile as post-COVID travel planning arrives

Dive Brief:

  • Travel site Expedia this week launched a brand refresh that repositions the company for a post-COVID future, according to an announcement. Central to the rebrand is an update of the company’s mobile app and website.
  • The updated app brings together trip details in one place and includes a “keep planning” feature that incorporates recent searches and bookings. Expedia also is simplifying its Expedia Rewards program, investing in its virtual agent program and evolving its insurance offering.
  • The rebrand comes after an unprecedented year for the travel industry. It will be supported by Expedia’s largest marketing spend in more than five years with global creative in multiple channels, including assets featuring American actor, writer, director and producer Rashida Jones in the U.S. and English actor Naomie Harris in the U.K. and Europe.

Dive Insight:

Expedia’s rebrand positions the company for a post-COVID future after a year when travel was limited or impossible due to restrictions and concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. While 67% of consumers were frustrated by travel industry marketing throughout the health crisis, 79% of vaccinated people say they plan to travel more or about the same as they did pre-pandemic, per a survey by Redpoint Global. By making mobile app upgrades central to the effort, Expedia can tap into smartphone usage that was driven by the pandemic at a time when consumers are readying travel plans amid vaccine rollouts and easing restrictions.

While the pandemic accelerated rebrands as companies looked to maintain gains made, Expedia’s refresh speaks to the heart of consumer expectations for a travel brand in a post-pandemic world. The company has shifted its focus from increasing sales volume to being a trusted partner in the travel process, per the release.

“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,” Shiv Singh, senior vice president and general manager of Expedia Brand, said in the release. “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.”

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Along with platform updates and upgrades to its virtual agent, insurance and loyalty programs, the rebrand includes a slate of new global creative featuring Rashida Jones and Naomie Harris, partners chosen for sharing the brand’s positioning as “intuitive, travel-savvy and positive,” per the release.

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