Kayak puts RFP on hold

NEW HAVEN, CT: Kayak.com has discarded its recently issued RFP to redefine its PR strategy.

NEW HAVEN, CT: Kayak.com has discarded its recently issued RFP to redefine its PR strategy.

The media company and travel search site underwent some internal changes in the months after it issued the $10,000-per month RFP in March. In May, Robert Birge joined as the company's first CMO in more than a year and Kellie Pelletier, Kayak.com's VP of communications, left the company.

“We are now in the process of reevaluating our PR needs,” Birge told PRWeek. “The RFP process got under way before I got here. Now between myself and management, we are reevaluating our needs.”

He said the process is beginning with a “blank sheet” and the budget and scope of work in the previous RFP are now “off the table.” However, he said, conversations remain with some of the agencies that were invited to the pitch. In March, PRWeek reported that Weber Shandwick, Text 100, and Lewis PR were among those pitching. But Birge also noted that not selecting an agency remains an option.

He added, the move is not financially-driven, but the ultimate decision will ride on whether investing in a PR agency can provide a strong ROI.

“We're a high-growth, well-financed company,” he said, adding that Kayak.com plans to launch an expansive offline advertising campaign soon.

“But we still believe in the power of PR… we want make sure we develop a clearly defined strategy before we bring an agency on board so we can properly direct resources against that strategy,” he added.

The earlier issued RFP cited several challenges for the company, including limited resources for the internal PR team. It also tasked the winning agency with driving more traffic to the company's Web site and raising brand awareness. The document further noted that Kayak.com "does not advertise offline... [and] less than 20 percent of online travelers... have ever heard of or used Kayak.com (or any metasearch site)."

Edelman was the company's most recent PR agency.

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