Travel Is Hot: Marriott And Burson Marsteller vs. Expedia and HL Group Vs. Orbitz and Ketchum PR
With Marriott International Inc. spending $160,000 in the first quarter on PR; Expedia, Inc. (Public, NASDAQ:EXPE) hocus pocus in China; and partners Signature Travel Network and Orbitz.com pushing Tourism Queensland (TQ) to the posh; and new kid on the block Stay.com planning a massive beta launch; the conclusion can be only one – travel is hotter than ever. If you keep an eye on the stocks, you’ll notice there fluctuations that point to the same conclusion.
It’s not that Marriott spent more than usual on lobbying and PR – in fact, they spent less. In the same time frame last year they spent $190,000, with $200,000 in the forth quarter. But aside lobbying, the company is busy extending on new markets, like the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, where it plans to open 1,500 rooms over the next 12 months. Marriott intends to launch properties in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Rwanda, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE by 2016, to extend its presence in the region to 40 (it currently has 28).
“We plan to open three hotels later this year in Qatar – the Renaissance Doha, the Courtyard by Marriott and the Marriott Executive Apartments in Doha. As we move forward into next year, we will open a Renaissance hotel in Tlemcen, Algeria, and a JW Marriott hotel in Tripoli, Libya. Both will be our first properties in their respective countries,” said Ed Fuller, president and managing director of international lodging for Marriott International.
The company has recently announced that it plans to double the number of its hotels in China during the next five years as well.
Marriot’s PR firms have Burson-Marsteller, and Catalyst.
Another major industry player, Expedia, targets China as well, which plans to acquire several Chinese Internet companies with focus on travel media and online booking. In April Expedia made a deal with Chinese budget hotel chain Motel 168 to provide hotel booking services to more than 200 hotels across China.
A few days ago, Expedia partnered with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association to refine searches for LGBT globetrotter. “500 hotels in major US and International destinations have the new designation applied, but that number will increase as the new filter is applied for all cities in Expedia’s database,” the Examiner reports.
While Expedia targets gays and lesbians, Orbitz takes a different approach, attempting to cater to the rich. Signature Travel Network and Orbitz.com partnered to entice more visitors to the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, which are promoted as a single destination in the Tourism Queensland (TQ) campaigns.
Orbitz PR efforts extend with USA TODAY’s online sweepstakes called the “Best American Destinations” where travel prizes are provided by Orbitz.com:
The “Best American Destinations” sweepstakes will start with 32 American destinations and through a series of weekly votes destinations can advance to the next round of play. During the five-week sweepstakes period, readers may vote once a week for their favorite destination. Each time a reader votes, they’re eligible for a weekly prize of a $500 Orbitz.com airfare credit. Readers who enter the final round of voting will be eligible for the grand prize of a $2,000 Orbitz.com airfare credit, announced USA TODAY in a press release.
Ketchum is the primary agency for Orbitz.com