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Expedia bolsters mobile bookings via ad campaign

The Expedia app

Online travel agency Expedia is letting users book their trips through a new mobile advertising campaign.

Expedia has partnered with Fotopedia on this campaign. Consumers who are browsing through travel content in some of Fotographia’s applications can now connect with Expedia’s app to arrange travel plans.

“We are seeing a tremendous shift towards mobile. Consumers have become increasingly more comfortable spending on mobile devices and the travel industry has taken notice,” said Jeff Warren, vice president of global marketing at Expedia Worldwide, Bellevue, WA.

“As consumers reliance on smartphones and tablets increases, we’ll make sure to offer travelers compelling experiences on the mobile device of their choice,” he said.

Mobile travels
The ad campaign is running in two of Fotopedia’s properties – the Fotopedia Paris and Fotopedia Japan apps, which are available for download on iPad and iPhone devices.

The apps are focused on showcasing landmarks from different cities through photos.

Each photo in the app features a sidebar with options such as photo galleries, maps and additional information about the landmark.

At the top of the sidebar, consumers can click the Expedia logo to book trips.

Fotopedia first prompts users to download the Expedia app. Once the app is downloaded, it opens inside the Fotopedia app to let users quickly book hotel rooms from one place.

For instance, consumers with the Fotopedia Paris app are automatically directed to Expedia, where they can filter hotels by price, location and rating.

In addition to the Expedia button, the online travel agency is also running banner ads inside the apps to drive app downloads. When tapped on, users automatically leave the app and are taken to Apple’s App Store where they can download the Expedia Hotels app.

Relevancy is key
Expedia has been active in the mobile space for a while to drive online sales with both mobile apps and a site.

Last year, the company launched a hotel booking app optimized specifically for tablets (see story).

The campaign has a simple premise to it but what is more interesting is how Expedia is using an ad to serve as a piece of relevant content.

Not only does the ad campaign cater to a specific group of consumers who have already shown that they are interested in similar information, but it is also an example of a campaign that is highly contextual to an app’s content.

By integrating its commerce-enabled features directly into the app, the deal might also help Expedia squash comparison shopping for consumers. The ads units give the online travel agency an advantage over its competitors because consumers are more likely to book a hotel reservation while it is top of mind.

According to an executive from Fotopedia, close to 20 percent of travel browsing is happening on mobile, showing the opportunities available to both advertisers and publishers to target users while they are on their devices.

“We know that mobile is an entirely different game than the Web,” said Christophe Daligault, senior vice president of global business at Fotopedia, San Francisco.

“On mobile it is more about discovery and search is not as important,” he said.

“The question is how to make this connection work in a way that is pleasant and relevant.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York