Hotels.com in major re-brand

Hotels.com, part of the Expedia Inc. group of travel companies, has re-designed and re-branded its UK site under a new “wake up happy” proposition, which has been developed with brand agency Lambie Nairn.

“Wake up happy” emphasises Hotels.com’s customer service-led approach.  It is intended to move the site from being the sector-generic URL as it becomes more of a consumer brand.  Communications across the new site emphasise its understanding of - and ability to cater for - modern travellers and new features, such as customer reviews, interactive mapping and more detailed room views that have been introduced in the run-up to the re-brand.

Consumer research during the re-branding process showed that the importance holidaymakers place on choosing the right hotel to fit their needs is much higher than other parts of the travel planning process, such as choice of flights or car hire.  The site has been designed to make this choice a pleasure - so that users can get map-based hotel search and can read honest reviews from people who have actually stayed at the hotel.

Patrik Oqvist, European marketing director for Hotels.com, who has led the UK development of the new positioning says: “This is far more than the addition of a strapline - there have been a host of developments in our online service to customers that we wanted to convey through the re-branding.  We believe that this customer-led positioning will give us stand-out against the competition.”

The “wake up happy” strap line will be incorporated into a new above-the-line advertising campaign, which is being developed by creative agency, Lambie Nairn.  The campaign will go live in the second half of 2007 and will be backed with major offline media spend, as well as internet marketing.  It will be the first time that Hotels.com has done anything more than run test campaigns outside the digital arena.

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The campaign will not only communicate the fact that Hotels.com offers travellers a choice of over 80,000 properties worldwide, but that these properties are backed by on site customer reviews, meaning holidaymakers get the most up-to-date information, and an honest appraisal of facilities.

Patrik Oqvist, adds: “The online hotel booking sector is growing rapidly, but we want to ensure that we are increasing share in the growing market, rather than just relying on growing with it.  The new proposition positions us well against both the more functional online hotel booking websites and amongst the hotel chains themselves, many of which have upped-the-ante online.

“We have always offered leading prices - and our price match promise will remain - but we wanted our positioning as a brand to also reflect our enormous range of hotels, our customer service proposition and our new site functionality.  We think that ‘wake up happy’ says everything to the customer that we wanted it to about the service we can offer them.”
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