In recent weeks I’ve noticed a ‘new’ (or what I thought was a new) online travel site called http://www.CheapOair.com. When I first saw the television spot I thought I was watching a misplaced skit from Saturday Night Live. There couldn’t really be a serious website called CheapOair.com could there?
A little reconnaissance proved me wrong. From Wikipedia – ‘CheapOair is an online travel agency that offers a large selection of flight deals, hotel rates, car rentals and vacation packages to destinations in North America, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific, the Indian sub-continent and Africa. The company has localized budget travel sites for the U.S., Canadian and British markets, and maintains a low fare guarantee to all customers as well as social communities that inform, enable and engage travelers with tips and advice on how to save money while traveling.’
In fact CheapOair was founded in 2005 and has already arranged more than 18 million flight deals. It has also been awarded the Hitwise award for being among the top 10 travel websites three times in a row. It is rated the 5th largest online travel agency in the United States. A company called Fareportal Inc. is the parent company.
Up until recently I had never heard of the company – had you? In addition I don’t know if personally I could feel good about booking a flight using a company called CheapoAir.com. For what it is worth, at least it’s not the name of an actual airline. I don’t think that would fly with most people at all.
Being in the marketing business I am quite sensitive to branding and company (and website) naming. It’s hard for me to believe that someone conjured up the idea for a new travel website and said – ‘Hey let’s call it CheapOair.com! Memorable yes, but will it stand the test of time? I sincerely wonder – in fact I doubt it. My first reaction wondering if the name was a bad joke has to have been shared by a more than a few people.
One could argue (quite successfully) that GoDaddy.com also had an unusual if not memorable name. I felt that GoDaddy.com had iffy prospects when it first came out with ads offering cheap domain names using provocatively dressed models as brand ambassadors (not to mention racing driver Danica Patrick and later fitness and ‘The Biggest Loser’ star Jillian Michaels). Yet in the case of GoDaddy the name was not – ‘CheapOwebsite’ for the domain registration company.
I admit there’s a difference in answering the question – ‘Where’d you register your website?’ CheapOWebsite.com is probably something you’d rather not answer. But somehow when being asked about where you bought your airline tickets and saying ‘CheapOAir.com’ it somehow sounds better.
Standing apart from the competition is critically important. CheapOAir.com has done that so far with its name and to this point, its service. How about you? Would you buy your airline tickets using CheapOAir.com?