Travel

The online travel site category has matured since the first dot.com bubble went bust, with new players such as airlines, hotels and credit card companies taking pieces of the action. As a result, the pioneer brands such as Orbitz, Priceline and Expedia led the charge in seeking new solutions in ’06. “Now they’ve got to differentiate somehow,” said Saatchi & Saatchi New York CEO Mary Baglivo. Delta Air Lines was the only other major account to go into review. (SS+K landed Delta in April.) As a result, available new business dollars in the category plummeted 44 percent from $660 million in ’05 to $370 million. Small shops were the beneficiaries, and some of the accounts were awarded within the past two months. Mullen and Butler Shine Stern were victorious on Orbitz and Priceline, respectively. In September, Doner pulled in Expedia’s $170 million account, which had been at Deutsch\LA since the brand’s 1999 inception. The $20 million New York City Tourism account shook hands with Bartle Bogle Hegarty, while the Royal Caribbean $30 million Celebrity Cruises business, at Arnold for the past four years, reached the final stage of its agency search late last month. The incumbent is defending and a decision is expected some time this month.