As a gal who travels hither and yon on a regular basis, I’m no stranger to Expedia. Search for this, search for that, book a hotel, do some vacation-flavored dreaming when I should be doing something else with my day — it seems only natural that they’d look to tell their brand story through the eyes of their customers.
The people who use their site every day to get from where they are to where they need to be, want to go, or have always dreamed of being.
Or in the case of one man, a place he never (ever) dreamed he’d be going — to walk his daughter down the aisle as she married another woman.
Here in the United States, we’re smack-dab in the middle of a heated political season — and gay marriage is a leading issue. Expedia could have taken the easy way out and shown a father or mother facing another heart-wrenching challenge regarding one of their children, but they didn’t. They chose the unpopular path — celebrating their customer, even though there was a certainty that they would lose business, suffer from backlash, and put their brand at a potential risk on account of choosing to tell this particular story.
Today, I’m celebrating Expedia for making the unpopular decision and telling a beautiful story that’s drawn the ire of a very specific demographic. Want to see the backlash? You can see 30 of the most outrageous reactions to the commercial here on Buzzfeed. But for the (to-date) 203 people who have openly disliked the video on YouTube, not to mention the adverse reactions posted on Expedia’s Facebook page, they’ve done the one thing that an unpopular brand always endeavors to accomplish: they’ve made a decision designed to honor their audience. And to their credit, stated that if this isn’t a story that sits well with you, you’re welcome to make your travel purchases elsewhere.
So bravo, Expedia, for a story well-told. Last week, you brought tears to my eyes before my morning coffee had even settled, and all through the simple act of celebrating your customers…even though you knew that some of your long-standing customers wouldn’t stand by and celebrate with you. And the best part? The people who choose to stay after you chose to take a stand will happily take turns holding the door so the folks who want to make their travel decisions elsewhere can leave with ease.
Stop by Expedia’s Facebook page and read one of the over 4000 comments and if you’re so inclined, add your click to the pool of 30,000 likes and growing on this particular video alone.