THE CHALLENGE: trans4m the brand identity of a successful airline retailer into a powerful TRAVEL brand that consumers believe is the best place to not just look, but book ... not just airline tickets, but far more lucrative hotel and packaged vacations


Accomplish all this with 1/5 the marketing budget of the top category competitor.


THE SOLUTIONS: innovate to build a PORTFOLIO of efficient e-commerce brands...

  • refocus budgets on BIG targets: create an intelligent 'brand portfolio', giving only the brands that could drive incremental businesss full marketing support
  • FULLY integrate online & offline marketing programs: in 2005, as most marketers were just talking about "integration", the Orbitz marketing team ... working closely with product and IT ... did it, consistently
  • create sharp, targeted & profitable messaging magnets: Orbitz was the 1st online travel agency to add a huge new revenue stream via site advertising; marketing built the industry's first successful internal sales team, bonded it to merchandising and successfully attracted not just indemic travel partners but highly coveted, deep pocket advertisers like Target
  • invent cheap, effective new ways to keep people engaged...and build a travel community, giving Orbitz huge potential competitive advantage: the OrbitzGames.com microsite was invented to build a community of players, back in 2006, leading trends that were later dubbed 'advergaming' & new social marketing
  • build a forward-thinking service offering: position the brand for coming category changes...the OrbitzTLC sub-brand was invented and launced in 2007 to put Orbitz a step ahead of competitors
  • fully leveraging the support of a strong ceo: to build a new collaborative approach internally with product and technology leaders and their teams, together, we radically change how marketing worked

here are just a few of the elements of the highly successful portfolio relaunch, created by fully aligned marketing, product and tech groups...







coming onboard mid-year 2005, there was little unspent marketing budget to deliver the new CEO's ambitious traffic goals ...


we took a little promotion using pop-under sports games and trans4med it into totally new marketing vehicle and a new guerilla tactic...


for less than the cost of a radio spot, in its 8-week introduction, the microsite delivered:

-  7MM total visits with 4.3MM uniques

-  12 minutes average engagement time

-  +637% new registrations

-  exceeding all program targets +80-700%


according to the New York Times, leading an innovative new marketing trend...


the new 2006 marketing campaign needed to trans4m Orbitz authority & motivate travelers to purchase more lucrative hotels & packages; broadcast had a clear role & responsibility in the mix...


this launch ad, combined with an integrated, seamless online and offline campaign, changed the way travelers thought of the Orbitz brand ... helping Orbitz Worldwide move from the #3 to #2 online travel agency site in North America, bypassing Travelocity, in just over one year

There were two HUGE opportunities in the category in 2006:


1. rise above commoditizing price wars to become the value-added service leader: not just the best price ... the best product at the best price; to drive home the message, a sub-brand was created to telegraph the value-added service message everywhere: just a little "TLC" was a promise which was modest and yet what customers were yearning for ... and still are today


2. seize "mobile" ... on the horizon: Orbitz alone had a compelling advantage with mobile alerts, which our best customers loved; this became the foundation to expand the brand's value-added service reputation ... the strategy was to co-opt a huge head start in what rapidly became a race for mobile relevance & dominance, not just in this largest e-commerce sector, but everywhere (to illustrate just how big this lead was, note: the Palm Trio pictured here was then the leading edge of what became smartphone dominance)








OrbitzTLC execution was seamless ... across all online communication including the site experience itself by 2007


the truly useful collection of customer-vetted services being offered on the site was a way to effectively building site usage...


and the warm TLC palette reinforced a warmer identity, humanizing the brand, which others relied on solely spokespeople to do...


yet Orbitz really did have an unheralded team of people in hous, full time, monitoring travel conditions... so we "heralded" them...






Long before 'social media' meant anything important in marketing, Orbitz began to capitalize on the social value of travel ... way ahead of any curve, or the high tech ability we have to execute this  simple idea today.


Just think where the brand could be now if it had sustained this early lead...



Proudly, Orbitz was ahead of the curve in many ways within the industry...(apologies for quality on this one, looking for a better copy, but it makes the point!)


acknowledement: Corporate Visionary Award for Orbitz

[note: all creatve work above is the property of Orbitz Worldwide]