Meet Max, the somewhat cynical, not so cuddly bear that meta-search company HotelsCombined has chosen to unify its site branding and also help consumers through the booking process.
Max now appears on all HotelsCombined owned properties, including several newish market-specific sites – DetectaHotel.com (Latin America), Biyi.cn (China) and RoomGuru.com (Russia).
It’s another step in the evolution of HotelsCombined, which is now in scores of markets. Growth has been extremely strong in recent times, though some markets remain challenging.
In its home market of Australia, HotelsCombined doubled its hotel bookings year on year to 300,000 transactions in 2014 with further strong growth anticipated this year.
As the company has grown, its marketing – once focussed on SEM and affiliate – has evolved and expanded into new areas such as television.
It now has TV campaigns running through Jan/Feb in a slew of markets including Korea, Middle East, Russia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Ireland and France.
Head of Communications Alex Wenger explains: “We needed a global symbol and picked a teddy bear because it’s a trusted endearing symbol that generates a connection with the audience.
“It also symbolises a good night’s sleep.”
But Max is also a bit cynical and definitely not cuddly, says Chief Operating Officer Hichame Assi. As with everything at HotelsCombined, Max is there to increase booking and conversions. At the moment, Max is part of a new logo, appears on the websites and apps but will soon be introduced to the television campaigns.
“There’s no finality to this and we’ll be refining as we go along,” says Hichame. Like with everything else.