Brand extension is the use of an established brand name in new product categories. The strategy behind brand extension is to leverage the equity of a well-known and trusted brand name to create new businesses, products or services. Brand extension allows companies to enter new markets and grow their business.
There are many successful brand extensions, including Virgin's entry into the travel market with Virgin Holidays, Armani's extension into hospitality with the Armani Hotel, and Cosco's entry into the cruise market, to name just a few.
Here at Your Brand Travel we know that making a successful, safe brand extension into the travel sector seems like a huge step to take, which is why we act as a solution to brands large and small, helping them springboard their way into the travel industry.
Below are a few examples of brands that successfully transitioned into a more diverse offering than where they started.
Another high-end brand that has successfully extended into hospitality is Bulgari. Bulgari Hotels & Resorts currently operate eleven 5-star luxury hotels across the globe, including in Milan, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing and Bali. Bulgari Hotels & Resorts offer guests an experience synonymous with the luxury and style of the Bulgari brand. With plans to continue expanding its hotel portfolio, Bulgari looks set to cement its place as a leading luxury hospitality brand.
Armani's extension into hospitality is another example of a successful brand extension. The Armani Hotel is located in the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, and offers guests a luxurious and stylish experience consistent with the Armani brand. Armani Hotels plans to expand, with the second hotel in Milan and rumoured plans for more in London and New York. The Armani empire is valued at $2.4 billion, and with plans to continue creating haute couture hotels that cost between $1,100 and $11,000 per night, there can be no doubt that Armani is set to grow that number significantly.
Cosco's extension into the cruise market is another example of a successful brand extension, as well as creating an online travel agency (OTA) that many of its competitors could have done without. Costco started its OTA many years ago, but it has only recently hit headlines thanks to rapid recent growth. Part of Costco's success lies in its strategy of tying store rewards to its travel side and vice versa. Offers, such as 2% cashback for executive club members on all bookings, have been key in driving growth. Combined with a focus on providing excellent customer service, it is no wonder that Cosco's OTA has been so successful in attracting middle-income travellers.
Trek is a retailer of bicycles of all types, but they also have expanded their business by adding bicycle tours to their offerings. This allows customers to connect with the brand differently and exposes potential customers who might not have considered Trek otherwise. The company offers domestic and international trips that are catered to different rider abilities. Some of the most popular locations for these trips are Napa Valley, Hawaii, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon. By venturing into this new market, Trek gained a whole new customer base while providing its existing clientele with the sort of holidays they would seek while continuing to sell its main product line.
Virgin Holidays / Virgin Atlantic
Virgin's extension into the travel market is an interesting example of a successful brand extension. Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson saw an opportunity to leverage the Virgin brand name to enter the travel market. Virgin Holidays was launched in 1984 and has become one of the UK's leading tour operators. The success of Virgin Holidays is due in part to the fact that it offers customers a unique holiday experience that is consistent with the Virgin brand. Combined with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Cargo, this brand extension has netted billions in yearly revenue, with assets currently over £1.8 billion.
These are just a few examples of successful brand extensions into travel-related services. There are many other examples out there, and no doubt many more to come. As the world of travel continues to evolve, so will the brands that we know and love.