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Expedia is the world’s most visited online travel agent. What does it need to do in order to maintain that position? Currently, the biggest online travel brands are differentiated not by the services that they offer, but by their tone and brand ambassadors.

Expedia is known by the twangy ending in each of its commercials.

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The lack of differentiation between the top sites is being leveraged by other travel aggregator sites like Kayak, which are rapidly gaining popularity and loyalty at a faster rate than traditional travel sites.

Challenge: The online travel industry is considered mature, and little profit comes from plane ticket sales alone. In order to maintain its position as a leader in the category Expedia must differentiate itself from other travel sites by the services that it offers and increase profits by selling more than just plane tickets.

With travel costs on the rise, who is hurt most by these changes? The frequency of young global travelers is on the rise. High school & college volunteer trips, gap years, study abroad. Honeymoons. Yet these are the travelers most in need of help financing this important step, and often depend on the financial assistance of family and friends to get them where they’re going. In an increasingly global-minded society, traveling has become a rite of passage, an almost necessary step towards becoming a successful global citizen.

How can we help these future global citizens overcome these new obstacles to traveling?


What are travelers looking for when planning a trip? Convenience. The purpose of planning travel ahead of time is to make the most of your time. Make being convenient more convenient by putting as many resources as possible in one spot. Suggestions. People trust suggestions from other people more than they do companies. Allow travelers to get suggestions for their trip by looking at the trips of others and then leaving feedback, tips, and suggestions on their own trips.

+ Combine the concept of an online gift registry with the aggregating capacity of Expedia’s existing resources to create a tool for travelers who need help getting to where they want to go.

Solution: The Expedia Registry

Stories. Half the fun in traveling is telling the story of your trip. The internet provides a great storytelling medium. Give the travelers different ways to tell their story before, during, and after the trip.

The Expedia Registry allows travelers to create a detailed itinerary with all the costs involved broken down - from flight and hotel to activities and souvenirs - and then get help from family and friends to help finance the costs.

The Expedia Registry The traveler creates a detailed trip itinerary, listing all costs that they want help financing, as well as tell any story behind the trip.

Through a partnership with Paypal, items that Expedia doesn’t offer for purchase, such as dinner at a nice restaurant, can be given.

Travelers can peruse itineraries that other travelers have created and reviewed for suggestions, tips, and tricks.

There, you can see how the trip will unfold. More expensive items, such as flights, can be divided into multiple, more affordable sections.

Once the registry is created, emails are sent to potential gift givers through Expedia. By clicking on the links in the email, the gifter is directed to the traveler’s personal registry on Expedia. Facebook and Twitter plugins allow the traveler to share their registry as they go, as well as the gift giver to share news of the traveler’s trip.

When an item is purchased, a message can be left for the traveler that they will receive when they are notified of the gift.

The traveler keeps track of everything from one interface. It lists the people that the traveler has notified, total gifts given, and those who have contributed to the trip.

Under notifications, all of the contributions are listed. Thank you letters can be composed from this section.

Once the traveler departs on their journey, the Expedia registry goes mobile. The postcard app allows the traveler to stay in touch with everyone who contributed to their registry as they travel.

They simply take a photo, write a message, and email it off.

The Expedia app allows the traveler to view their itinerary and trip progress, eliminating the need to carry paper itineraries with directions and details.

The next time the gifter opens their email, they’ll receive a postcard from the traveler. A connection between the gifter and the traveler throughout the travel process.

Creative Campaign The concept of a gift registry is to guide the gift giver in purchasing something that they want or need instead of something that will go unused or immediately returned to the store. The Expedia Registry is ideal for the growing number of students, recent graduates, and newlyweds who have the desire, but not the means, to travel the world. During these times, young people are often inundated with “thoughtful” gifts - such as “Class of 2010” picture frames - that ultimately take up residence on a shelf in the bedroom and then sit, gathering dust.

Strategy The Expedia Registry provides bad gift insurance.

You Shouldn’t Have! “You Shouldn’t Have” is a fictional show a la Antiques Roadshow, that follows fictional character, Jeremy Schwartzwalder, around the country as he appraises bad gifts that people have received. It will be hosted on the microsite, which will allow users to upload pictures and descriptions of bad gifts that they have received to be rated as well as to rate other people’s bad gifts. Those with the worst gifts can win gift certificates that can be used towards their travel registry. Banner ads featuring Jeremy will be placed on the Expedia website as well as on Flickr and other travel appropriate websites.

Print ads will be placed in both travel magazines as well as lifestyle magazines targeted to this 18-34 year old traveler.

(Print ad shown as it would appear to the reader)

Expedia Case Study /Platform Development  
Expedia Case Study /Platform Development  

Case Study and Platform Development completed Fall 2009 for Brand Campaigns. Credits: AD: Lauren Perlow AD: Maggie McClurke CBM: Jennie A...