Expedia Group, the online booking conglomerate that owns the travel agencies Expedia, Hotwire.com, Orbitz and Travelocity, has announced a $25 million initiative aimed at leveraging the brand’s media and advertising platform to help travel-related business weather the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Announced three days ago, the initiative will see Expedia match a portion of ads placed by destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and other travel businesses, up to $25 million. That money will come from a previously announced $275 million commitment to support the travel industry, which has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus.
“Destinations are a key element [of recovery],” said Wendy Olson Killion, Expedia’s vice president of business development. “We are coming to the table with $25 million of value to extend campaigns. Based on different tiers, we’re able to provide a considerable match on a campaign.”
For example, a DMO spending $100,000 on a campaign with Expedia’s advertising platform (which marks its 20th anniversary this year, a rough time for a celebration) will get a percentage of that spend in additional paid social across Expedia-owned channels and brands.
Although Olson Killion declined to provide specifics on the tiers of matching funds, she said the offer was available to everyone from the “smallest city players” to state and national tourism bureaus. Participants so far include the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Destination Canada and Los Cabos, Mexico.
These companies are vital for generating interest in destinations, which then trickles down to hotels, airlines and eventually local merchants. Several weeks ago, Airbnb announced a partnership with select DMOs, both domestic and international, including Visit Florida, Discover Puerto Rico and the Bermuda Tourism Authority. That deal would see DMOs using Airbnb’s platform for insights, with the vacation rental site granting access to its internal data.
Budgets worth more than $1 million will see a match that leans “much more” toward 100%, Olson Killion said.
Expedia will soon resume its own marketing, and is planning to incorporate its DMO and travel partners through television and digital advertisements, according to Olson Killion.
“There may not be as many travelers as there were in January, but we are seeing that pick up,” Olson Killion said.
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