Hotelier Has an Agency Vacancy

Choice Hotels International has put the advertising account for its Comfort, Quality, Clarion, Sleep Inn and other franchises into review.

Annual media expenditures for the Silver Spring, Md.-based hotelier are estimated at $35-40 million.

The Baltimore incumbent, Gray, Kirk/VanSant, has not decided if it will mount a defense.

The decision to put the account into review was triggered, according to consultant Laura Bajkowsky, by the arrival of Wayne Wielgus, senior vice president of marketing.

“It was Wayne’s decision, along with other marketing staff,” said Bajkowsky, president of Bajkowsky & Partners in New York.

Ad spending for the mid-priced hotels had reached $27.6 million through July 2000.

A first round of interviews is slated to begin next month, Bajkowsky said. She would not disclose the identities of potential contenders.

Sources at E. James White in Herndon, Va., said the shop would pitch the business.

Bajkowsky, who conducted previous reviews with Wielgus during his tenures at Best Western and Forte Hotels, said Choice was looking for an agency located in the New York-Washington, D.C., corridor.

A final decision is expected in January.