Expedia.com launches LGBT focused Web site
Leading online travel Web site Expedia has launched a new travel site to serve as a resource for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travelers, according to the company.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based company developed the Web site in partnership with the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, an organization dedicated to connecting businesses in the LGBT tourism industry with members in more than 70 countries.
The new site includes 10 domestic destinations and five international destinations that feature gay-friendly events, hotels, festivals and hot spots.
Users can also search under hotel preferences to find specific “LGBT-welcoming” accommodations. About 500 hotels will be included in this category for now, but that number will no doubt increase as the site gains traction in the LGBT community.
Expedia.com is the world’s most used online travel site. It provides several travel booking services including flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises. Expedia Inc. is the parent company of Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com and TripAdvisor. It is the third largest travel company in the United States and the fourth largest in the world.
Tim MacDonald, senior vice president and general manager, said in a statement that the new LGBT-geared travel Web site is a product of Expedia's mission to be the best place to book travel.
"This page will simplify and improve the shopping and booking experience for LGBT customers,” he said in a statement. “It was based on research illustrating the difficulty in finding LGBT-welcoming hotels, and our solution was vetted by a group of LGBT professionals at Expedia and a roundtable of gay travel community members.”
However, rival online travel Web site Orbitz.com has been offering a page dedicated to LGBT travelers since it first started.
In a statement, Barney Hartford, Chief Executive Officer of Orbitz.com, said that diversity is vital to its Web site’s continued success.
“Non-discrimination has been and always will be central to both our employee policies and marketing practices,” he said in a statement. Throughout our site's evolution in offering innovative service and a wide variety of relevant vacation options, one thing has remained constant – our never-ending commitment to serve the needs of every traveler.”
Orbitz also features a LGBT-based travel blog that contains ideas for gay travelers.
Expedia recently announced that it is offering discounts based on findings from a survey that it conducted via Facebook. The survey asked participants where they wanted to go most this summer and the information provided is being used for the company's 2010 Summer Sale, which is the largest promotion that Expedia has ever had based on the number of participating hotels.
Some of the top cities that Expedia users selected in the Facebook survey were Paris, New York, Rome, London and Las Vegas. The sale will include deals for 40 percent off hotels in these and other top selected cities.
Expedia also reported that its first quarter profits rose 51 percent when compared to first quarter of last year. The company said in a statement that this increase was due largely to increased bookings for both hotels and airfare.
According to The List database, Expedia Inc. uses several agencies in its marketing efforts. The company’s agencies of record are Seattle-based Razorfish for interactive, Seattle-based Wongdoody for interactive and brand strategy and Richmond, Va.-based The Martin Agency for creative, direct, CRM and digital.
The Nielsen Company reported that Expedia Inc. spent $111 million on measured media in 2009. About $37 million was spent on cable television ads, about $26 million was spent on network television ads and $16 million was spent on Internet ads.