Worldspan, a computer reservation system that provides online information for travel service providers like Priceline.com, is conducting separate agency searches for advertising and public relations partners.
The ad review is being led by Chicago consultant Melba Graffaus and Bob Kardie, president of Point of Vision Design Group in Atlanta.
Point of Vision has worked for Worldspan as its design resource since 1996 and "will help bring on the right advertising agency as the fulfillment of the rest of a well-rounded creative team," Kardie said. "That's what's been lacking, what's been missing from Worldspan . . . having a full-service marketing team behind it."
Graffaus and Kardie said Worldspan has five national semifinalists for the account, which is not yet budgeted. Part of the review process involves having shops help determine an ap-propriate budget.
Kardie said two finalists will deliver "full-blown pitches" before a winner is designated in early June.
The Atlanta-based company, owned by affiliates of Delta, Northwest and TWA airlines, recently named Paul J. Blackney chief executive officer. Blackney "has a strategy that shifts the focus to creating more of an image in the marketplace," Graffaus said.
Worldspan's last ad agency was Sawyer Riley Compton in Atlanta, which parted ways with the client in 1996, Kardie said.
Kardie said Worldspan's public relations review was further along than the ad agency search, but was also "being kept under wraps"
Originally created as an internal system for Delta in 1968, Worldspan's computer reservation system supplies nearly 18,000 travel agency customers in more than 60 countries and territories with availability and rate information for airlines, hotels, tour operators and other specialists. K