Orbitz supports inclusive positioning with ‘Travel As You Are’ campaign

Dive Brief:

  • Orbitz is introducing a refreshed travel hub aimed at LGBTQ consumers with the premiere of a short film on its website and streaming video platforms. The Expedia-owned company’s “Travel As You Are” national campaign invites people to travel on their own terms, “not the ones society created for them,” per an announcement.
  • Orbitz’s updated LGBTQ travel hub includes listings for hotels that have signed the company’s pledge of inclusion. Visitors can plan their next trip using its new events calendar and learn about Orbitz’s history and charitable efforts to support LGBTQ travel. Orbitz this year became a global partner of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) as part of its inclusion efforts.
  • The short film has a diverse cast of LGBTQ talent, and was directed by artist and fashion photographer Cass Bird. Laundry Service, Orbitz’s agency of record, created the campaign.

Dive Insight:

Orbitz’s “Travel As You Are” campaign aims to reach LGBTQ consumers as the travel industry awakes from a pandemic-induced slumber. The creative aims to inspire the LGBTQ community to consider booking a trip through Orbitz’s updated travel hub that showcases hotels and locations that are more inclusive.

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The campaign also is a sign of how Orbitz’s marketing has shifted in a period of months. As recently as last October, the company ran a campaign to celebrate the 15th anniversary of LGBTQ History Month that showcased virtual tours of destinations for homebound consumers. This latest effort urges people to take the next step of booking a trip.

“COVID-19 gave us the opportunity to pause and rethink our business strategy, and we concluded that we didn’t actually want to be travel generalists,” Carey Malloy, brand director at Orbitz, said in the announcement. “We wanted to refocus on our foundational values and the work that the brand started 20 years ago to advocate for LGBTQIA travel, equality and inclusion, but with a new call to action for the times we’re living in.”

There are signs that air travel is rebounding, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that people delay travel until they’re fully vaccinated. It also has a patchwork of rules on international travel and recommendations for unvaccinated travelers. Air travel this month is about 10 times the level of this time last year, and reached a post-pandemic high of 1.58 million travelers on April 2 ahead of Easter weekend, according to airport screenings data from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Still, air travel is down from 2019 levels, when screenings ranged from 2 million to 2.6 million a day for the comparable period.

The timing of Orbitz’s “Travel As You Are” campaign comes as people consider their summer travel plans, though the pandemic has led to the cancellation of many events for Pride month in June. Until in-person events fully return, brands are likely to stick with their virtual campaigns for the occasion. With many Pride parades canceled last year, NYX Professional Makeup hosted a virtual Pride march on Instagram, while Chipotle Mexican Grill, celebrated Pride month with a livestreamed event on social video app TikTok.

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