New Research From Expedia Media Provides Insight Into Destination Marketing Trends

Destinations around the globe increasingly shifting marketing dollars online and looking at social media to connect with travelers

BELLEVUE, Wash., July 21, 2010  Expedia® Media, the advertising sales division of Expedia, Inc., has released insights from a new study on destination marketing organization (DMO) advertising trends. Commissioned by Expedia and conducted by Revel, the study most notably revealed that DMOs are significantly shifting ad dollars online and away from offline media, with some DMOs saying that online now accounts for more than 50 percent of the organization’s total advertising budget.

According to the Expedia study, the shift of DMO marketing dollars to online media has occurred largely because of budget cuts and increasing pressure from governing bodies to measure results.

Underscoring the opportunities that exist online for DMOs, other recent data have shown how important online sources are to leisure travelers. A 2009 PhoCusWright study reported that 56 percent of U.S. travelers select their vacation destination online. Destination marketers also have the opportunity online to influence leisure travelers in the decision process, as a 2009 Google-Compete study showed that as many as 4 in 10 leisure travelers are undecided on an exact destination when they think about planning a trip.

Social media is also an increasingly important channel for destination marketers seeking to connect with travelers online. According to a January 2010 report from Destination Analysts, 43.5 percent of consumer respondents said they had used some form of user-generated content to plan leisure travel in the last 12 months, and 24 percent said they had used a mobile phone or PDA to access travel information – 80 percent higher than the prior year. DMOs recognize the need to capitalize on this trend, and according to Expedia’s study, many DMOs said they want to incorporate social media into the marketing mix, but have not yet determined the best way to leverage the channel in their marketing plans.

These insights reflect why Expedia Media continues to gain momentum as a key marketing partner for DMOs around the world. Since its formation in 2007, Expedia Media has created successful campaigns for more than 350 destinations, including Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, Mexico Tourism Board, South Africa Tourism, Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, VisitDenmark and San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, which in January 2010 named Expedia its “Partner of the Year.”

“Expedia Media provides destinations with the best toolkit of advertising products to reach in-market travel consumers at all points of their planning lifecycle, which is a key reason DMOs choose to partner with us. Many travelers come to the Expedia sites to research destinations, which can be front and center with relevant, insightful information during this prime decision making period,” said Doug Miller, Global Vice President of Media for Expedia, Inc. “Our campaigns have proven to grow bookings for our destination partners, extending their season and helping shift share from competing destinations.”

Expedia also stands by its destination partners in times of crisis. Earlier this month, Expedia Media announced efforts to provide marketing support to destinations impacted by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Throughout July, August and September 2010, Expedia Media is offering a three to one media matching program for DMOs and tourism boards located in the Gulf states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition to the media matching program, Expedia Media is also donating one full-day “homepage takeover” campaign on Expedia.com® and Hotels.com® for each of the Gulf states.

The Expedia Media team offers destinations the ability to promote their brands across multiple channels, including Expedia’s more than 70 global sites, offline platforms and more. Comprehensive marketing solutions for DMOs included integrated homepage takeovers on several Expedia sites, prominent ads at points of sale, social media, dedicated microsites, and StorePoint Expandables, a new interactive advertising product which combines rich media functionality with engaging microsite content. In addition, Expedia develops deals with its transportation and accommodation suppliers to promote a destination’s campaign and offer consumers greater travel options at competitive rates.

This toolkit of advertising products represents Expedia Media’s efforts to help its DMO partners reach the more than 50 million worldwide monthly unique visitors that visit Expedia, Inc. Web sites.¹ For more information on Expedia Media, please visit www.advertising.expedia.com

About Expedia Media Solutions

Formed in 2007, Expedia Media Solutions is dedicated to building online and offline media partnerships for travel and non-travel brand advertisers and to enable them to leverage the unique media value of Expedia’s network of leading travel brands and global points of sale. For more information, visit www.advertising.expedia.com

About Expedia, Inc.

Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) is the largest online travel company in the world, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes some of the world’s leading online travel brands, including:

•    Expedia.com®, the world’s largest full service online travel agency, with localized sites in 31 countries

•    Hotels.com®, the hotel specialist with sites in more than 60 countries

•    Hotwire®, a leading discount travel site that offers opaque deals in 13 countries on its 12 sites in North America, Europe and Asia

•    Egencia®, the world’s fifth largest corporate travel management company

•    eLongTM, the second largest online travel company in China

•    Venere.comTM, the online hotel reservation specialist in Europe

•    trivago®, a leading online hotel search company with sites in 39 countries

•    Expedia Local Expert®, a provider of in-market concierge services, activities and experiences in 18 markets worldwide

•    Classic Vacations®, a top luxury travel specialist

•    Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®, one of North America’s leading retail cruise vacation experts

The company delivers consumers value in leisure and business travel, drives incremental demand and direct bookings to travel suppliers, and provides advertisers the opportunity to reach a highly valuable audience of in- market travel consumers through Expedia Media Solutions. Expedia also powers bookings for some of the world’s leading airlines and hotels, top consumer brands, high traffic websites, and thousands of active affiliates through Expedia® Affiliate Network. For corporate and industry news and views, visit us at www.expediainc.com or follow us on Twitter @expediainc

¹Customized comScore data May 2010