Friday, February 12, 2010

Expedia Delivers Opaque Branding for Flights: Where's Leonard Nimoy?

We found something new in our in-box from Expedia this morning. The usual claim for the best prices from point A to point B yielded a flight at the top of the display with both the carrier and the exact time of departure hidden until purchase. We’ve seen it with hotels, but not air. In our search there was just one opaque listing at the top of the display for a significantly better price in an otherwise uniformly priced market. It looks like this in the display:

Clicking on the Tell Me More link brought us to the following explanation for the terms. It’s similar to the brand opaque presentation we’ve all seen elsewhere for hotels, but to avoid having the consumer tie it back to a specific flight that would reveal the carrier, the departure times are also masked.

Given the success of this marketing technique on the hotel side, it’s almost surprising that it hasn’t been used sooner on air for all the same reasons. It preserves the general pricing structure for the carrier, and caters to a market segment that values price over convenience and brand.

Will we soon see Expedia commercials with Leonard Nimoy encouraging us to “Name Your Own Fare?”

Guest posted by George Roukas

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