Expedia created the online travel market 20+ years earlier but was under increased attack from competitors in 2014. This increase in competition had commoditized the market, putting a lot of pressure on prices and margins. Category marketing essentially focused on “deals” and savings. Because of that, consumers increasingly started to visit price comparison sites rather sites like Expedia directly.
The first shift in strategy came by deciding to break the category communication conventions of focusing on price and deals. Instead, Expedia and its agency decided to focus on the transformational life experiences of travel. They validated the size of this “opportunity” through a segmentation study which identified a consumer segment that perceived travel as an essential investment in their wellbeing and self-image. Further research lead to this brilliant and yet so simple insights that “travel makes you more interesting” (and who doesn’t want to be perceived as interesting?) which was brought to life in a multi-channel campaign around the tagline “Travel yourself interesting”.
Challenging category conventions and providing a psychological benefit to reinforce consumers self-image rather than the typical functional benefit (low prices and deals) are two of the 26 proven effective positioning strategies we explore in our positioning development methodology and a highly effective way to re-position and grow a brand, its margins and its profitability. In the UK, Expedia’s Profit Return on Investment from this new positioning and campaign was 1:11.