Texans Go On Defense

DALLAS – Four shops surfaced last week as contenders in the possible $40 million consolidation review for Promus Hotel Corp.
Sources said capabilities visits have been set with Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Arnold Communications, both Boston; TBWA Chiat/Day in New York; and Foote, Cone & Belding of Chicago. Executives at those agencies declined to comment.
Greg Malark, vice president of marketing for Promus, would not confirm contenders last week, but said he was still compiling a list of seven agencies that he would meet with, in addition to the chain’s incumbent shops. Defending their portions of the account are Promus’ lead agencies: GSD&M, Austin, Texas, and DDB Needham Dallas.
GSD&M is lead agency for Promus’ 171 Doubletree units, which spent approximately $16 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
DDB Needham is lead agency for Promus’ Hampton Inns, Hampton Inn & Suites, Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites chains. Spending for those 979 units exceeded $21 million last year, per CMR.
The review was triggered by the December 1997 merger of Promus and Doubletree Corp. The combined corporate entity operates under the Promus banner and owns, franchises or manages 1,227 hotels.
Malark has said the account may be consolidated at a single agency or remain split [Adweek, May 4].
Memphis, Tenn.-based Promus Hotel Corp. has more than 180,000 rooms at its locations throughout the United States, Mexico and Latin America. The company posted 1997 revenues of $983 million, according to Hoovers Online.