Expedia Pops up a Larger-than-life Parasol Art Installation for New Orleans Jazz Fest

“A key thing that we’ve learned works really lovely is this idea of collaborating with local talent to help them tell the story and elevate their own place to invite the world to come and experience the festival.”

–Liseli Sitali, Director-Football and Music Partnerships, Expedia Group

Since 1996, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has highlighted the art, music, food and culture of a chosen country in the Cultural Exchange Pavilion. Across two weekends this year, April 25 to May 5, the festival dedicated the Cultural Exchange to Colombia, welcoming close to 200 participating Colombian artists who filled the air with cumbia, salsa and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, making it the event’s largest country celebration to date.

As the Official Travel Partner of the 2024 New Orleans Jazz Fest, Expedia anchored its sponsorship of the event’s Cultural Exchange Pavilion with a larger-than-life yellow parasol art installation. The brand partnered with New Orleans-based Colombian American artist Basqo Bim to design and create “Para Sol, Para Todos” (“For Sun, For Everyone”). Inspired by New Orleans’ second line tradition, the parasol featured white and yellow lacy frills and sun imagery on the exterior, while the inside panels showcased colorful paintings of Colombian people, music, heritage and folklore.

pg-essence-fest-2022-teaserMore Festival Sponsorship Strategies:

“What was really important to us to get resonance with those diehard fans who have been going for a while, but also help new audiences discover us, was how could we take local talent and creators and help tell the story of why we’re there to showcase our presence,” says Liseli Sitali, director-football and music partnerships at Expedia Group. “Basqo Bim has both of those lived identities and experiences, so we handed over the paintbrush to him and co-created a concept that could bring people together and be both beautifully aesthetic and authentic to the festival.”

Utility was an important element for the team. The parasol offered shade to festivalgoers from the sunny and hot New Orleans environment, while refreshments of blueberry mint tea with mini umbrellas added to the vibe. Knowing the shade would encourage longer dwell time, Expedia recruited local brand ambassadors to promote its One Key loyalty program, which launched in July 2023 to unify Expedia Group’s three flagship travel brands of Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo. Attendees who signed up for One Key were entered into a contest to win a trip to Colombia.

Expedia’s iconic yellow color not only drove brand awareness around the pavilion, parasol and signage, but also tied into Colombian culture, as yellow is a meaningful symbol of the country’s identity and flag.

Expedia_New Orleans Jazz Fest 2024_Mardi Gras Indians_Expedia_GlobalJam_KAMP 48_Kyle Hannon-KampGrizzly

Expedia hosted the Jazz Fest afterparty, Global Jam, featuring an artist lineup curated by Anderson .Paak and an appearance by Mardi Gras Indians.

“In the last two years, we’ve been intentionally focused on: What are the things that make people travel over and above the standard vacation?” Sitali says. “We were lucky enough to get to experience the festival before we partnered, and the main thing that stood out to us was that people come for the festival, but they stay for the experience and fall deeper into it because of everything it offers over and above the live event and performance.”

Beyond the on-site activations, Expedia worked with festival organizers to identify attendees’ key booking windows, and with local hotel partners to curate travel guides and experiences.

“We wanted to work hard on helping Jazz Festival drive more ticket sales than ever before, and we managed to do that with them,” Sitali says. “We also wanted to make sure that travelers had a really good experience and that, of course, our hotel partners saw a business benefit. We’re happy to report that we had double-digit growth in the market.”

A surrounding digital and OOH marketing campaign centered on Grammy-winning artist and Jazz Fest headliner Anderson .Paak, who served as a brand ambassador for the festival partnership. .Paak collaborated with Expedia to create an exclusive Big Easy Travel Guide for festivalgoers, including must-visit venues and local haunts.

New Orleans native Tarriona “Tank” Ball, lead singer of Tank and the Bangas, also partnered with Expedia to share her favorite restaurants and music spots, and the group performed at Global Jam, Expedia’s Jazz Fest afterparty on April 26, featuring a live music lineup curated by .Paak.

“A key thing that we’ve learned works really lovely is this idea of collaborating with local talent to help them tell the story and elevate their own place to invite the world to come and experience the festival,” Sitali says. “That’s something we definitely want to carry on in year two, as we gear up for that now.”


More Scenes from Expedia’s Global Jam event at New Orleans Jazz Fest:

Photo credit: Erika Goldring, Getty Images for Expedia; Kyle Hannon, Kamp Grizzly

Featured image credit: Lindsey Childs, 1983 Creative


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