DALLAS: Hotels.com has selected ICF Next as its PR and social AOR for North America.
ICF Next, which formally launches next month, was selected in early fall following an RFP process that began in August. Work started in October.
ICF is bringing together shops Olson Engage, Olson Digital, Olson1to1, PulsePoint Group, The Future Customer, and We Are Vista into a marketing and communications agency called ICF Next.
The consumer PR team supporting Hotels.com sits within what’s currently known as Olson Engage. The overall account lead is Shannon Lovich, a VP in ICF Next’s Minneapolis office. The team is made up of 12 core members which also includes critical leadership from ICF Next VP and creative director Kara Arneson, and social media VP Jason Miller.
ICF Next is tasked with helping Hotels.com to differentiate its brand personality in an increasingly crowded and competitive travel category. The agency is responsible for driving "breakthrough earned media ideas that reflect the brand’s irreverent personality while collaborating with peer agencies within Hotels.com’s integrated agency team," according to a statement.
"We are both the PR and social AOR, charged with building awareness and relevance-driving campaigns to drive growth in the competitive online travel agency space and bring the brand’s irreverent tone to life," Lovich told PRWeek via email.
ICF Next is already working on Hotels.com’s Most Remote AF Hotel campaign.
"We worked with Hotels.com to put rooms up for grabs at the Ittoqqortoormiit Guesthouse [in Greenland], dubbed the most remote AF hotel, for stays during March 2019," Lovich said via email. "Hotels.com picked up the room tab if consumers could get themselves to Ittoqqortoormiit."
Budget information was not disclosed.
ICF Next will have revenue of more than $300 million. Its other clients include BMW, Kraft Heinz, Lloyds, Luxottica, MillerCoors, Mars, and U.S. and EU government agencies.
In February 2016, Hotels.com brought on Hill+Knowlton Strategies as its AOR in the U.S. The firm previously worked with Hotels.com, but at project level.
Enabling consumers to book a place to stay, Hotels.com has 90 local websites in 41 languages. The company’s app has been downloaded 70 million times, according to a statement.
Hotels.com is owned by Expedia, which also owns Expedia.com, Hotwire, and Trivago. In the first nine months of 2018, the company’s revenues grew 12% year over year to $8.7 billion, driven by a 13% year-over-year growth in overall gross bookings.