Shiv Singh, Expedia
"I know everything is framed as a big deal, but this is a big deal for us."
Quote from Shiv Singh, senior vice president and general manager of Expedia, in an article on PhocusWire this week on the online travel agency's rebrand.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.
If 2020 was all about hunkering down to survive, then this year is about positioning oneself to hopefully capitalize on the slow return to normality.
It's a big mistake to assume the industry and its traveling customers are out of trouble yet (India, in particular, is this week illustrating just how far this pandemic still has to go), but the feeling of some degree of optimism is all around.
Airlines are putting more planes in the sky, hotels are dusting off their housekeeping trolleys and socially distanced-attractions are tentatively opening their doors again.
With no customer-facing, physical assets to focus on, online travel brands are jostling for attention on the web with a variety of initiatives.
A rebrand/relaunch, such as that put in the market by Expedia earlier this week, is a prime example.
As its leader Shiv Singh concedes, "big deals" are relative in the grand scheme of things, especially to those who look on enviously at a brand like Expedia that can probably spend billions of dollars on its recovery efforts alongside a rebrand.
But from its own perspective, taking the opportunity to freshen things up is a logical move in the absence of a market perhaps not quite ready for any significant, growth-focused M&A activity.
Whether this move from Expedia will see other brands take similar approaches to positioning remains uncertain.
Such endeavors are pricey and, arguably, divert attention away from other initiatives needed to get operations back to normal.
Yet the likes of Expedia Group and the other mega-brands in the market arguably have the resource (both financial and people) to embark on these projects in tandem with other developments.
And it is this aspect - and this aspect alone - that should unsettle those who do not have the opportunity. It's unlikely that the major tech players will have been knocked off their perches as a result of the pandemic.
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