Australia’s dominant travel agency group, Flight Centre, is putting its financial muscle behind revamped accommodation website Quickbeds.com with a multi-million dollar advertising and marketing campaign to help it break from the pack and become a clear local alternative to Wotif.com.
But it’s not all marketing spin; Quickbeds.com has had a complete makeover – cleaner, leaner look, better usability – while dropping its $3.80 booking fee, expanding the booking window to 99 days and going hard for low-cost market positioning.
Quickbeds is using C-Grade celebrity Warwick Capper as the star of a big broad ad campaign (that includes TV, billboards and digital) with the tongue-in-cheek tagline – “Hotels cheap and easy – just like me”.
The move spices up an already active market which is seeing a sustained push from other players – notably Expedia.com.au and its TV campaign – to become a clear #2.
“We have recognised that there is room to be a significant other to Wotif,” says GM John Feenaghty.
“Suppliers know having all their eggs in one basket is a risk.”
The revamped website has been upgraded across the board and usability is key, says Feenaghty.
As for Capper, “we’re being purposely irreverent, just trying to make some noise in the market”.
Developed using .net2 the new site is much more flexible and able to pump product through xml feeds to and from industry parters.
“We built the supplier interface from the ground up,” Feenaghty says.
“It has extra usability and increased flexibility. It’s much easier to update rates and inventory.”
The improvements will soon flow through to thousands of Flight Centre agents who already book rooms through Quickbeds.com, which has as a disproportionately high B2B turnover.
Supplier commission remains at 10%.
Quickbeds.com has 4000 Australian suppliers on board, which Feenaghty says is is enough for now.