Expedia Says Its Super Bowl Ads Are ‘Vote of Confidence’ in Travel Sector

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The company aims to use a Super Bowl commercial for Expedia and pregame advertising for Vrbo to reintroduce brands that are ‘a bit dusty’.

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The travel sector was slowly recovering from the damage caused at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the rapid spread of the Omicron version has slowed that resurgence. Delta Air Lines Inc. Chief Executive Ed Bastian said this week that Omicron lost about $75 million in the fourth quarter, which includes a loss of revenue from canceled flights and a slowdown in bookings.

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Expedia Group in November reported revenue of $2.96 billion for the third quarter—up 97% from the year-ago period, when results were ahead of the pandemic and Wall Street estimates. Revenue was still down 17% from the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019.

“It’s really a vote of confidence getting back into the travel category,” said John Giselman, president of Expedia Brands. “I think we will live with the implications of this for some time. But I think there is such a suppressed demand right now, we are seeing it in so many sectors, that people are ready to live their lives again “

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Mr. Giselman said Expedia advertising would suggest that experiences are better than physical goods.

“We’re sitting at home ordering stuff from Amazon, and maybe buying more crap than we really need. But that’s because we haven’t been able to invest in the experiences.” “The Super Bowl spot that asks the question, ‘Do you want to invest in more stuff, or experiences?'”

The ads will introduce new creative approaches to Expedia and Vrbo, Mr. Giselman said.

“To varying degrees, the brands in this portfolio are a bit dusty – some of them more than others,” he said. “So that’s a small part of the coming-out party for these businesses.”

The company seeks to better communicate the value of Expedia’s offerings, to stand out in a business category in which price is often paramount.

“People decide which room to travel with depending on where they are a dollar or two cheaper,” Mr. Giselman said. “The opportunity we have is to really move this business from a business that focuses on optimizing transactions, to optimizing long-term customer relationships…[so that] When you’re planning your next trip, you’re concerned with business.”

Write Megan Graham at [email protected]

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