Expedia is embarking on major brand revamp, backing the effort with a new global campaign that will mark the brand's largest marketing spend in more than five years.
Running under the tagline "It matters who you travel with," the campaign's U.S. push will include a film spot featuring American actress Rashida Jones. In the U.K., the campaign's film will star English actress Naomie Harris.
"It's a new chapter in our brand history," Shiv Singh, senior vice president and general manager for Expedia Brand, told Travel Weekly. "We want to be your ultimate travel companion with you every step of the way, not just at the point of purchase, or when you're thinking about travel, but also while you're on that trip."
Singh added that Expedia's repositioning rollout will be "a multiyear journey."
At the center of the brand's refresh are numerous app and website improvements, including a simplified home page and new features designed to make itinerary planning easier. In addition to making all trip details available in one place, Expedia's mobile app has debuted a "Keep Planning" option, providing access to recent searches and bookings to better help users put together a complete trip.
A new type of package offering, showcasing "pre-bundled products" comprising a combination of flights, accommodations and activities displayed with total upfront pricing, is also now available. According to Expedia, these pre-set packages are intended to minimize "the stress of sifting through thousands of options while still allowing for easy customization," with each bundle's travel components able to be changed or removed.
On the insurance front, Expedia said it plans to make improvements by making policy wording "easy to digest," streamlining the claim submission process and enhancing coverage. Later this year, Singh said, the brand plans to debut an insurance-related feature that will monitor events impacting a person's trip in real time and provide more proactive support.
"[This will make it] so we may know what has happened to you," said Singh. "You may have lost a bag, or your flight may have canceled. And therefore, we can alert you and say, 'Under your insurance, these are some options you may want to consider.'"
Virtual agent updates
The brand's virtual agent program is similarly undergoing updates. The platform will allow travelers to ask the virtual travel agent questions about their itinerary, including queries around a hotel's health and hygiene policies, with no wait time. Additionally, program users will now have access to a "one-click cancel" function, which will allow travelers to immediately cancel an entire trip.
Signing up for the brand's Expedia Rewards platform will also become easier, with the program's sign-up process now merged with the account set-up process. Expedia said it plans to unveil additional benefits over the course of the year for Expedia Rewards members, as well.
Other changes include the enhanced display of popular activities located near an accommodation, an improved flight-shopping experience that better clarifies details on carry-on bag options and seat selection and the ability to shop by available lodging amenities, making it easier to understand which room rates include parking, complimentary breakfast or other offerings.