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Battle of the online travel bookings websites

February 17, 2014

Ok, so you’ve decided you need a holiday, preferably somewhere warm, and you want to go in two weeks. In the ‘good old days’ you would traipse down to your local travel agent and sit there for a few hours while they go through various options with you. You would flick through some glossy brochures with pretty pictures, and then you’d settle on a mid-range hotel, which features lots of pictures of poolside cocktails – perfect! Then you arrive, only to find out the hotel is next to a building site, the pool looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in years and there is mould growing in your bathroom! If only you’d had access to the plethora of online travel booking websites to give you tips, reviews, photos of the hotel from every angle, comparison of rooms, prices and ratings. That’s where websites like Booking.com come in handy! Have a look at their recent ‘Booking Yeah’ advertising campaign here. I must admit, because I am the chief travel booker in our family, I can empathise with these scenarios. The pressure of getting it right, the intrepidation of arriving and wondering if you’d made the right decision, I’ve been through it all!

View the Booking.com 'Booking Yeah' ad >
View the Booking.com 'Booking Genius' ad >

But with an increasingly technology savvy customer that can easily compare all the offers across multiple booking sites, how do these websites stand out? Some of the key players in the industry such as, Travelocity, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Orbitz, Webjet and Zuji have to find ways to communicate something unique about their service offering. At Luma we know that building strong brand feelings is important to people's decision making, but are any of these ads able to build that connection with the consumer? We thought we’d have a look at some more of the recent ads to be released in Australia over the last few months. Expedia’s new year campaign was perfectly timed to air just as some of us were heading back to work after the Christmas break. It’s hard to not get persuaded by ads like this when the post-holiday blues are just starting to set in.

View the Expedia 'Watercooler' ad >
View the Expedia 'Stapler' ad >
View the Expedia 'Zen Garden' ad >


In late 2013 Expedia followed a young boy around the world, ticking experiences off his bucket list. Cute maybe, but along with the ads above, do these ads do anything to set Expedia apart from the rest?

View the Expedia 'Out there starts here' ad >

Looking a little further a field, here’s a look at some of the ads from overseas:

Airbnb ‘Birds’
Airbnb uses a very different approach, attempting to make the process more personal.
View the ad >

Expedia ‘Find your travel companion’
Expedia demonstrates some very handy additional tools you can use when you make a booking via their website.
View the ad >

Kayak.com
Kayak.com focuses on speed to help you make a decision.
View the ad >

Booking.com
A funny ad - when you go on holiday do you get excited by electric wind, colourful beverage accessories, recreational sand? If so, you can find the hotel perfect for you at Booking.com!
View the ad >
 

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