Booking.com uses Idris Elba to run ads
The pandemic-hit travel industry is looking forward to better days, with Super Bowl ads and consumer giveaways designed to convince travelers to book long-delayed trips.
Booking.com revives its 2013 “Booking.yeah” campaign with its first commercial during the big game. The ad, starring actor and director Idris Elba, will debut on the same day as the company. holiday gift through social media in the amount of $500,000.
The Super Bowl commercial is just the first of several commercials that will air during Booking.com’s five-week campaign, featuring 30- and 15-second commercials starring Elba.
The $500,000 Vacation Contest will run from 6:30 p.m. to midnight ET Sunday. Viewers can participate by tagging Booking.com whenever they see a destination — whether in a company ad or any other Super Bowl ad — that they would like to visit.
Rival Expedia also deals with competition for its members rewards for his return to the Super Bowl after over 10 years. The company will give away 19 vacations worth $5,000 each and one grand prize worth $25,000 in Expedia Bonus Points.
With Covid-19 cases on the decline again and warmer months ahead, travel companies are using the Super Bowl as an opportunity to encourage consumers to plan and book their trips now.
Analysts at Truist Securities said they expect travel, especially business outside the US, to slow in December due to headwinds in January, but see demand pick up in early spring, leading to strong results for online travel agencies in 2022.
“You may feel a huge desire to travel right now,” Glenn Vogel, CEO and President of Booking Holdings, the parent company of Booking.com, said in an interview. “We think now is the time to reintroduce Booking.com and push this carefree idea of travel forward.”
Vogel said he expects more travel in the coming months, with additional bookings to increase for the spring break, Easter break and summer. He added that prices are unlikely to drop in summer.
Vogel declined to provide any specific information about the booking, citing a quiet period ahead of the fourth quarter earnings report on February 23. The companies own Kayak, Priceline and OpenTable.
Concerns about future Covid options should not discourage people from booking travel early, he said.
Vogel says the Booking.com campaign is focusing on free cancellation options at most properties and custom filters to help travelers find properties that suit their needs, especially during the pandemic.
Flexibility is one of the main takeaways the company hopes viewers will feel when they see the ad, he says.
“Ensuring flexible booking so that people can feel absolutely comfortable when booking is really important, and that’s a message we’ll be repeating over and over again in this campaign as it rolls out,” Vogel said.
When a country lifts travel restrictions, people immediately start booking trips, he said, adding that consumers book properties that suit their level of comfort, so an immunocompromised traveler might choose to rent a home rather than a hotel.
Despite this, the message is clear: people want to travel, he said, and “we are seeing that in countries the infection rate is decreasing and the number of trips is increasing.”
Consumers are more willing to take risks now than before amid the pandemic, Fogel said, especially since Omicron is reported to have less severe symptoms than earlier options. He added that most vaccinated people are comfortable traveling, eating indoors and staying in hotels.
Booking.com’s creative team worked with Los Angeles-based creative consultant Horses & Mules to create the ad.
Although the Super Bowl had few viewers last year, some predict that the rise in sports betting will encourage more people to watch it this year. The Super Bowl also remains that rare opportunity to reach a large audience in a fragmented television audience.