Expedia takes on Airbnb in marketing blitz

Expedia is preparing to spend a record amount on marketing this year to narrow the gap with its vacation-rental rival Airbnb

Jan 30, 2024

Expedia aired a series of ads during the AFC and NFC American football championship games on Sunday that showed confused vacation guests checking into a farmhouse and a hexagon-shaped spaceship and struggling to settle in. The ads don’t mention Airbnb by name, but they were a clear reference to some of the eccentric homes its rival prides itself on. Later, the spots showed how renting at Vrbo, Expedia’s home-rental unit, would be a different, and supposedly better, experience.

Key takeaways

  • Expedia wouldn’t say how much it will spend on marketing this year, only that it would be “more than we’ve ever spent before.” In 2022, Expedia spent $6.1 billion. Analysts are expecting marketing expenses of $7 billion in 2024 and $8 billion in 2025;
  • The splurge on Sunday’s highly coveted advertising slots and during the Super Bowl pre-game in February, is part of Expedia’s effort to raise brand awareness in the US - its largest market - and abroad;
  • Vrbo has about two million listings, compared with Airbnb’s seven million. The two have slightly different business models, however, with Vrbo focusing more on higher-priced whole-home listings near beaches and in mountain and rural destinations. Airbnb has a higher concentration in big cities.

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