WEST PALM BEACH, FL: Online group travel booking service HotelPlanner has selected Burson-Marsteller as its first AOR for communications, following an informal review.
The firm, which began working on the business at the beginning of January, is leading strategic communications for HotelPlanner and working to increase its brand awareness.
Burson is also promoting brand messages, engaging mainstream and niche media, and providing strategic counsel. The account work is US-focused with some support from Europe.
"Even though there are many, many sites that can book hotels, booking groups is a different animal, and [HotelPlanner does] it both through its online service and though its people all over the world who specialize in group travel, and they build relationships with hotels," explained Erica Swerdlow, US EVP and Midwest market leader at Burson.
The company defines group booking as reserving five hotel rooms or more at a time.
In addition to increasing brand recognition, Burson will enhance HotelPlanner’s thought-leadership efforts by positioning the company and founder and CEO Tim Hentschel as experts in the group travel industry, said Swerdlow. The firm, whose Los Angeles office is leading account work, will also help the company enter travel industry award shows.
HotelPlanner handles social media internally, but Swerdlow said the WPP agency is beginning to counsel the company in that space.
"HotelPlanner is more than 10 years old, and it’s at an important inflection point where they’ve made a leadership role for themselves, and I really think communications and PR will help them explode exponentially," said Swerdlow.
The contract will run for one year. Budget information was not disclosed.
HotelPlanner, founded in 2002, books group travel and hotel rates for business meetings, weddings, sports, and other events, according to its website. It is based in London.
This story was updated on January 27 with more information about the geographic scope of the account.