Hook exits Thomson for Expedia comms position

Internet travel company ­Expedia has revamped its comms team, poaching TUI Thomson PR manager Caroline Hook for the same role.

She will have responsibility for promoting hotels.com and expedia.com.

Hook reports to Alison Couper, who was last month promoted to become Expedia's director of comms. Couper joined as EMEA head of PR for hotels.com last summer. Couper said her promotion, and Hook's arrival, would lead to a thorough ­­­re-examination of the company's comms strategy.

She declined to rule out a potential review of the company's agencies: Seventy Seven PR, which promotes hotels.com, and The Red Consultancy, which promotes expedia.com.

Expedia's most recent scheduled agency review fell by the wayside when EMEA director of comms Chris Wermann left last year after just 12 weeks in the job (PRWeek, 23 Sep 2005).

Hook worked at TUI for around five-and-a-half years, heading comms for the company's city breaks and tailor-made long-haul holidays. She has also worked for travel specialist Brighter PR.

Hers is TUI Thomson's ­second senior press team exit in recent weeks. Head of comms Rachel O'Reilly, to whom Hook reported, announced late last month she would leave at the end of October to become a director of consumer agency Siren PR (PRWeek, 29 Sep).

O'Reilly said it was too early to decide whether Hook would be replaced, but that senior PR managers Harry Helps and Kimberly Kay would run the team in the interim.

Expedia was at the vanguard of the market boom in online travel bookings three years ago, but visitor numbers to the website have fallen as hotels and airlines increasingly use their own online portals to sell their products.

Expedia this summer responded with a £2m marketing campaign and a relaunched website.

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