- Create unique brand experiences
- Encourage traveler engagement
- Increase interactivity within online channel
Advertising that doesn’t skip the fun.
Hotels.com operates one of the most well-known and successful booking sites on the web, connecting guests with accommodations of all types. Once on the site, travelers can select from top hotel chains, all-inclusive resorts, boutique hotels, and bed and breakfasts—all at some of the lowest prices available.
The company’s business model has also made Hotels.com an obvious choice for travelers to tap into thousands of last-minute deals. To help reinforce this idea, Hotels.com personified it through a fun, playful character—Captain Obvious.
The booking company wanted to leverage made-for-web, character-based content that was both funny and interactive. The idea centered on a ‘skippable’ ad, which encouraged customers to click a button to skip an advertisement. When the button was clicked, a brief vignette played, depicting the characters within the ad literally skipping across the screen.
Through the inventive and colorful ad, Hotels.com aimed to increase engagement with the brand over previous non-interactive content. “Fun isn’t always the first word that people think of when they think about booking accommodations,” says Vincenzo Bruno, Senior Brand Manager, EMEA at Hotels.com brand. “However, when booking through Hotels.com, we want travelers to think exactly that—it can be fun and easy.”
"Adobe Advertising Cloud enabled us to create a quality, seamless experience where the technology was virtually invisible."— Vincenzo Bruno, Senior Brand Manager, EMEA, Hotels.com brand
Understanding what can be achieved with Adobe Advertising Cloud, Hotels.com and creative agency CP+B London devised the initial concept and creative. The company then worked with Adobe consulting to code and optimize the new experience.
The custom experience relied on two parallel, synced videos with the same end. Depending on the customer’s preference, he or she could toggle between videos by clicking the skip button.
“It was a simple idea that relied on a number of moving pieces,” says Bruno. “Adobe Advertising Cloud enabled us to create a quality, seamless experience where the technology was virtually invisible.” As a result, customers could see past the screen, become immersed in the humor, and engage with the brand.
"With Adobe Advertising Cloud, we look forward to engaging with our customers and shining a light on how fun it is to do business with Hotels.com."— Vincenzo Bruno, Senior Brand Manager, EMEA, Hotels.com brand
After launching the new experience, Hotels.com leveraged survey capabilities within Adobe Advertising Cloud to measure customer satisfaction and the success of the new experience. At the same time, Hotels.com measured the rate at which travelers toggled between skipped and unskipped experiences.
Overall, Hotels.com saw nearly 20% of customers exposed to the interactive experience switching back and forth between experiences. “Viewers didn’t just watch the ad, but interacted with it,” says Bruno. “This is an extremely important factor in driving brand awareness, affinity, and loyalty.”
The survey also revealed an overwhelmingly positive sentiment among travelers, including a lift in brand awareness and brand consideration metrics, when comparing customers who were exposed to interactive content versus standard creative. Customer enjoyment was also identified by a significant portion of customers ‘skipping’ the ad multiple times—a clear sign that the surprise was appreciated and not a function customers just trying to bypass the ad.
Beyond the survey, Hotels.com social marketers monitored its social channels and saw lots of positive feedback and praise. At the same time, the company received awards and attention from industry and marketing organizations for the innovative new experience, including from ADWEEK, IAB MIXX Awards, TheDrum, and more.
“For such a simple idea, we’ve received overwhelmingly positive attention from customers, industry insiders, and marketing organizations,” says Bruno. “With Adobe Advertising Cloud, we look forward to engaging with our travelers and shining a light on how fun it is to do business with Hotels.com.”