BELLEVUE, WA: Expedia Group has promoted Sarah Gavin to SVP of global communications and corporate brand.
Gavin is reporting to vice chairman and CEO Peter Kern. She is overseeing 50 staffers and is responsible for corporate communications, crisis and reputation, digital footprint, employee comms and corporate brand.
Gavin said the newly created role is an evolution of her previous position as VP of global communications and corporate brand at Expedia, following a centralization of employee comms last fall.
“Expedia Group has several divisions, which all had separate employee communications teams,” she said. “A new area of focus for me is simplifying and streamlining our communications to employees so we have a more cohesive and compelling message.”
Another change to the comms team is the creation of a “comms enablement function,” led by director of comms engagement Jess Grandinetti, said Gavin. That includes the company’s new field communications practice, operations, analytics and learning.
“One way we’ve come together that I find particularly cool is how we launched our 2021 comms plan,” said Gavin. “In the spirit of simplicity, we streamlined how we socialized our plans and shared our tools, resources and training with our internal partners.”
The company also created a “lightweight event” called Comms Week, which featured a series of optional, easy-to-digest sessions designed to engage Expedia Group’s diverse partners simply and at scale, said Gavin. Across all of the sessions, Expedia had more than 1,000 attended sessions.
“Results were strong, showing people understood the plans and felt more confident in their comms partners after attending,” said Gavin. “Plus, people thought it was an innovative way to get their attention and buy-in. It was also a lovely way for the team to come together that felt natural; no trust falls to force them to pretend they’ve been a team for ages.”
Expedia Group includes travel brands such as Vrbo, Orbitz, Hotwire, Trivago, Hotels.com and Egencia, in addition to flagship Expedia.com. The company retains Rubenstein at the corporate level, but each brand has its own PR agency partner.
Gavin joined Expedia as communications head in 2011. Before that, she was VP at Waggener Edstrom for five years, where she worked with clients such as Microsoft Windows. Earlier in her career, she was a director at EnGenius Technologies.
Gavin was a PRWeek Hall of Femme 2020 honoree.
Amid the pandemic, Expedia Group’s annual revenue fell 57% to $5.2 billion in 2020, and gross bookings fell 66% to $36.7 billion.