SAN FRANCISCO: As part of a global PR agency review, Hotels.com has selected Ruder Finn as its AOR in the US and Canada.
In coming weeks, the travel booking site will conduct reviews in Brazil, Mexico, and Japan, said Alison Couper, global communications director at Expedia, Inc, which owns Hotels.com.
Ruder Finn won the business following a "tightly competitive" review, she said. A source familiar with the contract said the account is in the “high six-figures.”
Last November, Expedia.com selected the HL Group as its US AOR. Edelman was in the incumbent for both the Hotels.com and Expedia.com business, but a representative from the agency declined comment. Couper said Edelman continues to do corporate work for Expedia, Inc.
She said Ruder Finn's task will include social and traditional media outreach.
“We're looking to elevate our coverage and really have it support our ‘smart' campaign and our rewards program,” said Couper, referring to the ad campaign that launched last June with the tagline “Smart. So smart.” and featuring the voice of comedian Ed Helms.
For its PR push, Hotels.com plans promote its Hotel Price Index, which compiles data on hotel stays in thousands of cities. The company also plans to pull more granular data from the index for regional media coverage.
“There are a lot of local media and social media opportunities because we can look at, for example, where people in Georgia traveled to versus North Carolina,” explained Couper. “We can look at how long people are vacationing, where they are staying – and we can take this right down to the city level.”
The PR team will also work on injecting Hotels.com into social media conversations about holidays and travel. The pillars of its communications strategy will emphasize the rewards program, customer service, its no-fee cancellation policy, guest review programs, and price match guarantee.
Lisa Novak, head of Ruder Finn's US consumer practice, said the account is among “the most significant” for the agency and will be primarily serviced from New York.
“We found that the majority of Hotels.com users drive to their destinations,” Novak said. “So we're really making sure we reach out to consumers more locally and regionally – and individually through social media.”