They say the key to an innovative strategy is to identify sector conventions and tear them to pieces, and that’s exactly what Expedia and Booking.com have just done.
The travel sector, like insurance and banking and estate agents, is full to the brim of dull ‘me-too’ brands and offerings, most spouting the rational benefits of their products: “We’ll find you the cheapest holiday going”, “We’ll find you the best rooms available”, “We’ll find you the toyboy holiday romance you’ve been longing for all year, Julie” (ok not the last one so much, but you get my gist).
So how does a brand stand out in a world of beige? They identify all conventions and smash them – using a golden nugget insight, an emotional story and a bit of bloody personality (is that so much to ask?!).
No one has done this better in recent years than challenger brand Booking.com. There’s a raft of samey samey online comparison providers out there, and booking.com ultimately is no different. So they had to make their brand pack a punch to battle against heavy weights Expedia and Lastminute when they launched their first UK ad campaign earlier this month. But how?
They firstly realised that we Brits love planning to perfection. We’ll make sure we have the best flight times to give us that extra hour in the sun, the hotel that’s close enough to the main plaza but not too close that it becomes noisy, the rooms with the sea view and the air con and the mini bar and the pillow menu (yes, this exists).
Once they’d realised that all these little things can make or break a holiday, they decided to celebrate them. A winning W&K formula of personality + humour was laid over the top, et voila! The campaign ‘Booking.yeah’ was born. If you haven’t seen the ads yet, take a look at this and this and this and get ready to fall in love with the brand as much as the world and his nicely suntanned wife have.
Another travel brand producing nice work is Expedia with their ‘Travel Yourself Interesting’ campaign. They realised that people like to show off about being cultured and worldly-wise, and focused their work in on this insight. Interesting facts and stats from around the world dominate their well designed press ads, and they aren’t flogging offers or sales or discounts but instead simply saying ‘we give you the opportunity to travel and learn’, a much more emotionally compelling reason to consider booking your holiday with them. It’s more about what you get out of travel, rather than where you go and how much it costs you.
Other brands in other commoditised markets need to take some leaves from these books, identify conventions and use powerful insights to knock them out the park.
Words by Jo Birch