Sunday, April 06, 2008
Expedia and the death of the dotcom
A brand refresh has come out of Seattle in the last week or so. Without much fanfare we can see a softening in the curves and tone of the Expedia Brand. As a trusted reader put it "a subtle change in the font, to make it easier to read...more inspiring". Not sure about the inspiring part but I did notice a subtle but I think critical change in the new logo. In the US Expedia site, the logo no longer contains the domain. As well as a font change, Expedia US has in effect changed it's name from Expedia.com to simply - Expedia.
In the early days the ".com" part was critical. It told consumers exactly where they could find Expedia. It also told customers that Expedia was part of the travel revolution. But in 2008, Expedia has the call centre phone number as prominent on the website as the booking engine, has owned a top offline wholesaler (Classic Vacations) for more than 6 years and has joined with Cruise Ship Centers International Inc. to launch co-branded stores (seekingalpha story) - that is right an offline physical location. All of this is clearly telling the Marketing people at Expedia that "dotcom" is dead.
Makes some sense - the US market has crossed the 50% threshold (ie majority of leisure market is online). There is no need to convince consumers that online is good. Online is now just normal. There is no need to include in the logo a mechanism to identify that the company can be found online when in the US market - every single company can be found online.
Expedia in the UK is not yet convinced. They have taken on the brand change but are keeping the domain. But then the UK has not hit 50% (yet). Thanks to a reader for the UK logo comparison picture that beats the pants out of my old versus new efforts with the US logo.