Left without an agency when the incumbent closed its doors in December, Travelocity of Fort Worth, Texas, is sizing up The Richards Group here for its $3-5 million account, according to sources.
The online ticket reservation system, owned by AMR Corp. spinoff The Sabre Group, has zeroed in on The Richards Group after hearing speculative creative presentations by that agency, Hadeler Sullivan & Law, also Dallas, and Fogarty Klein & Partners in Houston.
Richards officials declined comment, while a Travelocity representative said the company has not contracted with any agency. Insiders with the competing agencies, however, confirmed Travelocity has informed them of its decision.
Executives at both Hadeler and Fogarty would not comment for the record.
Travelocity incumbent M&J of Dallas (formerly Meyer & Johnson) ceased operations when principals Mike Meyer and Bill Johnson sold the agency's interactive marketing division to Cleveland-based Vantage Communications Group. Johnson then accepted a creative director's post at Dallas-based Halcyon Communications.
Meyer is currently a marketing official at The Associates First Capital Corp. in Irving, Texas.
The client utilized Meyer & Johnson for several years before switching to New York's Site Specific in 1997. Travelocity then returned last March in order to utilize more traditional media resources at Meyer, particularly in-flight programming and promotions in the consumer and trade sectors.
Sources said the client wanted an advertising partner that was "Internet savvy," although its selection of finalists indicates a desire to find an agency with traditional marketing muscle.
Only The Richards Group brought formalized interactive capabilities to the table via its Click Here unit. Both Hadeler and Fogarty assign online marketing duties to team staffers.