As a British person living in Brussels, I always take the Eurostar when I go home – it makes much more sense for me personally than flying or driving. But while the company doesn’t have to work too hard for my custom, there are several things about it that I admire: its willingness to use distinctive advertising that doesn’t take itself too seriously, a social media team that is generally responsive and engaged, and in general a strong and simple visual identity.
(From eurostar.com: a fun and distinctive way of introducing a new route)
In sum, for a mass market travel provider, Eurostar has always seemed to me a fairly classy brand (even its new budget website looks chic): it’s not always cheap but you get the impression you are paying for a quality product. So why spoil this with tacky-looking Expedia adverts? Whenever I log in to my latest booking online, I see the following offer superimposed on the My Booking interface:
Eurostar has offered hotel bookings for a number of years,but I’m sure this option used to be much more integrated into the ticketing process: the device is fairly new and to me it smacks of desperation. Do they expect anyone to believe the implication that these prices are only available to Eurostar passengers, and that all the other suckers will be paying the crossed out amounts? Will the offer really vaporise 19 days from now? I’m guessing it won’t, not least as I’ve now logged in on three separate days and the number hasn’t changed. On a different note, why have a piece of Expedia branding intrude on the clear and visually harmonious My Booking page? I don’t know much about the history of the Eurostar and Expedia partnership (though interestingly it seems to have not been continuous) but to me this doesn’t serve either company well – it reminds me of the wretched popup that almost always appears when you do a search on Tripadvisor.
As the above marketing email shows, Eurostar is capable of promoting its hotel deals in a way that fits its visual identity. So why not do that on the website itself? All this is irrelevant to me, as I’m not looking for hotels in London, Paris or Brussels, but every time I see that pop-up a little bit of the Eurostar glamour dissolves, never to return.