Expedia leaves Edelman for Fleishman after pitch

BELLEVUE, WA: Expedia.com has hired Fleishman-Hillard as its North American agency of record. The travel website had previously worked with Edelman for nearly eight years.

BELLEVUE, WA: Expedia.com has hired Fleishman-Hillard as its North American agency of record. The travel website had previously worked with Edelman for nearly eight years.

"As Expedia.com's business grew, we wanted to see what other options were out there," said Expedia.com product manager David Dennis, of the decision to look at other agencies. "[Fleishman] brought in a great team that really understood our business, the customers we are trying to reach, and the partners and suppliers who are a part of the program."

Fleishman, whose San Francisco office will be the account hub, will help Expedia.com focus on distinguishing and differentiating its services from the competition. The agency's New York office will assist on the account. Fleishman also handles PR for Expedia.com's low-cost sister, Hotwire.com. Two separate teams work on the accounts.

"Our ongoing consumer programs will be the core focus on the PR," said Dennis. "The mission is to make sure there is a differentiation of what we offer from our competitors, and offer things our competitors don't."

Expedia.com, which began searching for an agency in early November, handled the search internally but did not involve procurement. The company initially looked at 12 agencies, whittling the number down to four for the final round. Edelman was among the finalists.

According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Expedia.com is the leader among travel sites. In December, the company drew about 8% of all web users, while Travelocity.com and Orbitz.com each attracted about 7%.

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