Expedia has commissioned specialist agency selection consultancy, AAR, to assist in a review of its Pan-European creative account. The review follows a restructure of the online travel agent’s European marketing team. Behind this new approach is a desire to expand the range of online travel agency services on offer to consumers in established Expedia markets and to support expansion into new European territories.
Expedia has conducted extensive consumer research with brand consultancy, the Value Engineers, to better understand the needs of different audiences and how best to connect with them to address the issues that matter to different consumer segments in each European country.
A series of new products and services informed by this research will be launched in 2011 alongside a new series of integrated marketing communications initiatives. Agency suppliers selected from the review will be tasked with rolling out a new brand positioning for Expedia across Europe and execution of campaigns to educate consumers about the broader range of services Expedia has to offer.
In the last year Expedia has launched new local websites in 3 new European markets and building the Expedia brand in these markets will be a key task for the chosen agency. Following this development, Expedia has also expanded the marketing team to focus on both new and existing markets. Expedia has also recruited new managers to manage social media and mobile communications and is currently recruiting for a new Senior Marketing Manager for the Scandinavian markets.
Expedia is looking to structure its agency suppliers with a hub and spoke model aligned to Expedia’s own marketing structure.
“As a business we have been able to improve our efficiency of operation and speed of response by creating a European marketing structure which combines local expertise with a central European hub in London. By removing layers of structure and increasing the flexibility of our marketing functions, Expedia has seen reinvigorated, marketing-driven growth and delivered strong business performance – despite a difficult year for the travel industry. Now it is time to ensure that our internal marketing infrastructure is better aligned to the way in which we manage our marketing services” commented Andrew Warner, Senior Marketing Director EMEA for Expedia.
The new agency suppliers will be tasked with generating both pan regional creative and local work that demonstrates a strong appreciation of local consumer needs.
“We are firmly committed to maintaining close connections with our consumers in each local market. Local knowledge is critical to success in the travel business and Expedia has over 400 people across the world managing local relationships with our hotel and air partners. Therefore a demonstrable understanding of the nuances of consumer communication in different European countries will be a core requirement when we are selecting our agency partners.
Expedia’s media planning and buying is currently managed by PHD across Europe and Essence is the company’s digital advertising agency for Europe. These relationships remain unaffected by the new pitch. Incumbent agencies Meteorite in the UK and Serviceplan in Germany will be invited to participate in the pitch process.