TripAdvisor helps charities with its philanthropic effort

NEWTON, MA: TripAdvisor launched its "More than Footprints" philanthropic campaign, intended to enlist customers to vote for a travel-related charity most worthy of a $1 million donation.

NEWTON, MA: TripAdvisor launched its “More than Footprints” philanthropic campaign, intended to enlist customers to vote for a travel-related charity most worthy of a $1 million donation.

The effort, which runs through November 9, encourages visitors to TripAdvisor's Web site to vote for one of five travel-related nonprofits – Conservation International, Doctors Without Borders, National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy, and Save the Children – to determine what percentage of a $1 million donation the groups will receive from the organization. Each nonprofit will receive a fraction of the donation, to be announced November 12, based on what portion of the vote they receive, but all groups will be awarded at least $50,000.

The company hired two PR firms, Pardes Communications and Echo-Ditto, to conduct media and blog relations for the campaign. Pardes is managing outreach to traditional US media, including travel and philanthropy writers, as well as consumer press and trade media, said Michele Perry, TripAdvisor's VP of global communications. EchoDitto is targeting bloggers and reaching out to niche, cause-related social networks and Web sites, said Brian Reich, principal at EchoDitto.

Members of the organization's management team will also do a satellite media tour.

TripAdvisor's European PR is working with local agencies in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and India, Perry said, adding that the company hopes to match the value of $10 million in advertising with the PR effort. The organization determined that the two-month initiative should extend near the holiday season and beyond the November 4 presidential election, Perry added.

The campaign attracted more than 160,000 votes in its first week, said Diane Pardes, principal at Pardes Communications.

TripAdvisor's contract with the two firms, which it selected based on recommendations in lieu of a formal RFP, ends in November, Perry said. The campaign's budget is undisclosed.

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