Cendant taps Ogilvy after reorganizing travel group

PARSIPPANY, NJ: Cendant Corporation's Travel Distribution Services (TDS) division has streamlined its communications structure and taken on Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide as agency of record.

PARSIPPANY, NJ: Cendant Corporation's Travel Distribution Services (TDS) division has streamlined its communications structure and taken on Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide as agency of record.

The reorganization will incorporate 10 brands into a single division.

The group will coordinate messaging and customer, financial, and media outreach for the travel brands, operating through five customer-focused business units. The businesses of Cendant's TDS division include Galileo International, Shepherd Systems, WizCom, THOR, Trust International, Highwire, Travelwire, Neat Group, Lodging.com, and CheapTickets.com.

Dawn Soper Lyon will head the division's corporate communications and public affairs team as VP. Lyon comes to her position from Trip Network, which was acquired by Cendant in April. There, she was senior director of communications and public affairs.

The new staff includes 10 PR staffers, down from 13 assigned to the various TDS brands. Two of the current staff came from New Jersey-based Keating PR, which handled b-to-b brand Trust International until the end of June.

To supplement the new communications division, Cendant has chosen a single agency, Ogilvy. As well as ending the relationship with Keating PR, New York City agency M. Booth & Associates stopped working with CheapTickets.com earlier this year.

"Ogilvy demonstrated an understanding of the strategic challenge we face in integrating so many businesses in the consolidating and rapidly changing travel industry," said Lyon. "I see the Ogilvy team as an extension of ours, and will support several key areas."

Lorra Brown, SVP at Ogilvy and head of the Cendant account team, said, "Cendant is really being smart about approaching communications. They're not jumping into strategy. It's easy to do that, but we're developing plans to meet business objectives."

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