Optimedia Wins Orbitz

After months of churn, online travel service Orbitz appears to have put the final piece of its marketing puzzle in place by naming Optimedia to handle its offline media chores in North America.

The New York-based Publicis Groupe agency succeeds Mullen’s MediaHub in Boston, a unit of Interpublic. The client continues to handle online buys internally.

Orbitz spent $40 million on traditional ads last year, down $20 million from its ’08 paid-media expenditure, per Nielsen.

Optimedia won a closed review that played out over the past few months. The client would not disclose other contenders. The process began when Mullen added JetBlue and broke with Orbitz owing to that conflict of interest.

Omnicom’s BBDO in New York won a separate review in March for creative chores and this month broke its first campaign for the client. That shop replaced independent Trailer Park.

As the month began, Orbitz tapped eBay veteran Chris Orton as CMO.

Orbitz suffered a 15 percent dip in revenue to $738 million in 2009, compared to the previous year. Over the same stretch, the company lost $337 million, about $38 million more than it lost in ’08. That performance is associated with the removal of booking fees for air travel and reduced hotel fees.