The $3-5 million account for the Travelocity online ticket reservation system has returned to Dallas shop Meyer & Johnson.
Meyer lost the account more than a year ago in a competitive review won by New York interactive agency Site Specific. Travelocity is operated by AMR spinoff The Sabre Group in Fort Worth, Texas.
Agency president Mike Meyer said the return of Travelocity to the fold came after quiet discussions with the client. The change was prompted by the client's wish to branch out into general media branding, including print ads, rather than market itself almost exclusively on the World Wide Web, Meyer said.
"I think . . . Web business in general is growing exponentially," said Meyer, "and from a strategic standpoint, these are ideas that make a lot of sense."
The added exposure will involve in-flight media and promotions in both the consumer and business-to-business categories.
"We need an agency that understands advertising more than just Web development," said Marty Gast, Sabre's advertising and sales manager, in a statement.
Online co-branding efforts with other Web companies like Yahoo! and Pointcast will remain a major component of marketing.
Other assignments for the shop include product launches and partner promotions, plus building a proprietary tracking model to improve transactions per visit, according to the agency.
Travelocity's plans for a wider target reach comes as the field of online air travel booking is being joined by the major airlines and crowded by existing travel agent services like Microsoft's Expedia and Preview Travel [Adweek's IQ News, Jan. 19].
According to Jupiter Communications, online transactions reached $274 million in 1996, third only to computer software and hardware sales in total Internet commerce. Industry analysts estimate total spending for online travel reservations will reach $5-9 billion in the next five years.