CEA, Digitas Set to Pick Up Hotel Chain Account

Six Continents Hotel Group is set to award marketing duties on its Priority Club Worldwide loyalty program to Digitas and Campbell-Ewald Advertising, said sources.

Digitas, Boston, will handle direct, relationship and Internet duties on the estimated $20 million account, while CEA in Warren, Mich., will handle branding and advertising, sources said.

Agency officials either could not be reached or referred calls to the client. Company officials said they wouldn’t comment until contracts are signed, which was not the case by press time.

The Atlanta hotel group, formerly Bass Hotels & Resorts, awarded the business after a review that included incumbent DraftWorldwide in Chi cago along with Fallon in Minneapolis, BBDO South in Atlanta, Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla.; and Wunderman in New York.

Digitas had done Web-design work for the Starwood Hotels & Resorts chain. However, that project had run its course and so would not present a conflict with Six Continents, according to an agency source.

Like other hotel chains, Six Continents, which operates more than 3,200 hotels in 100 countries, has been hit hard by reduced pleasure and business travel this fall. The company last week announced it had lost an estimated $25 million in revenue because of decreased business since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Six Continents hotel brands include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Intercontinental, Staybridge Suites and Crowne Plaza.

Fallon handles advertising duties for Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express; The Campbell Group in Baltimore handles the Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental business.