AmEx Launching Travel Guide for Cash-Strapped Consumers

American Express Publishing is bringing back a multiplatform travel guide program that it launched last year with Time Inc. and CNN. But while last year’s initiative covered nine U.S. cities, including New York, Boston and Los Angeles, this year’s will focus on short hauls, reflecting the economy’s dampening effect on consumer travel.
This year’s initiative will be called Weekend Getaways, with a focus on trips accessible from major cities in the Northeast, Southwest and West.
Last year’s City Guides represented the most extensive cross-sales collaboration by the three media companies. Like the 2008 effort, this year’s will live in print and on TV and online and have luxury car maker Infiniti as the sole sponsor.
A new element this year is a sweepstakes that will give people the chance to win a trip to one of the nine featured destinations. The contest will be promoted on-air, in print and online and also be Infiniti-sponsored.  
Similar to last year’s program, pullout booklets will run this year in copies of AmEx’s Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine and Departures and Time Inc. titles Fortune, Money and Time Style & Design.
CNN will air related segments on its networks starting March 21. The network also will provide tips, news, information and video on its Web site and mobile site.