Hotwire taps Atomic as AOR

SAN FRANCISCO: Popular discount travel Web site Hotwire.com has selected Atomic PR as its AOR, following a competitive bid.

SAN FRANCISCO: Popular discount travel Web site Hotwire.com has selected Atomic PR as its AOR, following a competitive bid.

The company selected Atomic after conducting two rounds of reviews that included finalists Edelman and Shift Communications. Hotwire, which is an operating company of Expedia, declined to cite a contract amount, but James Hannon, co-founder of Atomic, said the account was "significant."

"What we're looking for Atomic to do is to make PR a key part of our marketing program," said Cheryl Law, Hotwire's VP of marketing. "It has not enjoyed that status with us until now."

Law said communications objectives include an aggressive media outreach campaign to distinguish the site's competitive edge in the crowded discount travel space. The primary message to media is Hotwire's position as is an "opaque" channel for car rental companies, airlines, and hotels to unload unsold merchandise at a discount to the public, she added

"We want to make sure the press understands [that message] well so they can pass it along to their readers," she added.

Media outreach will include travel publications such as Budget Travel, Travel &Leisure, and daily newspapers in the site's major markets including, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Digital and social media initiatives are also planned but still under development, Law added.

"We're not changing our brand positioning," said Annie Welch, manager of offline marketing and PR at Hotwire. "But a major objective of our PR program is to go out there and educate the press about what Hotwire delivers to consumers and how that is different from the entire competitive set."

Hotwire previously worked with Fleishman-Hillard in San Francisco, but the agency did not participate in the review.

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