Expedia, Inc. and WPP Group Form Strategic Alliance for Latin America

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Partnership between market leading companies will support big regional expansion of online booking site.

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"Our expansion plans in the region require a partner with the strength and capacity necessary to help us manage our strong and steady growth."

Expedia, Inc., the leading global online booking site, and WPP Group, a major marketing and communications global group, today announced a strategic alliance to foster the development and growth of tourism and online bookings in Latin America.

This partnership will be spearheaded by major brands from each group. For Expedia, Inc. the partnership will start with the Hotels.com brand. WPP Group has appointed agencies of its Y&R Brands unit, such as Young & Rubicam and Wunderman, and MediaCom. Arvizu Corporate Communications in Mexico and S2Publicom in Brazil will support the expansion of Hoteles.com in the region with PR services.

Hotels.com has enjoyed triple digit growth in Latin America and is looking to expand significantly in the region with the help of WPP. The company operates 76 local country sites throughout North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. The site offers travelers more than 120,000 quality hotels, B&Bs and self-catering options around the world. More than 75 million users visit Expedia, Inc. websites each month.

"In the tourism industry we have seen a marked trend towards self-service through digital platforms, and therefore our expansion plans in the region require a partner with the strength and capacity necessary to help us manage our strong and steady growth. We are confident that the experience and leadership of WPP will enable us to achieve these objectives strategically and very rapidly," said Javier Escobedo, General Manager of Hotels.com for Latin America.

“We are proud to start this partnership with Expedia, Inc. Our experience in developing regional and global strategies for large companies will help consolidate the leadership and regional expansion of Hotels.com and Expedia, Inc. throughout Latin America. For Y&R Brands the challenge is twofold: first, overcoming the resistance to change from the consumer, and second, maintaining results commensurate to the fast growth of our client,” said Eric Descombes, President and General Manager of Young & Rubicam and Wunderman in Mexico.

The two corporations have already won an award together, with Wunderman winning a gold prize for Hoteles.com in Mexico at the last Painani Awards for use of direct marketing focusing on strategy, creativity and results.

As part of the Expedia group which operates in all major markets, Hotels.com offers more than 120,000 quality hotels, B&Bs and serviced apartments worldwide. If a customer can find the same deal for less on a prepaid hotel, Hotels.com will match it. Hotels.com benefits from one of the largest hotel contracting teams in the industry negotiating the best rates for its customers, plus there are 1.8m reviews from users who have actually stayed in the hotels to ensure customers make an informed choice when booking. Hotels.com won the Gold Award for best hotel booking site in Webuser magazine in February 2009. Travellers can book online or by contacting one of the multilingual call centers by telephone.

WPP Group is the largest and most successful network that provides communications services around the world, has more than 125 companies, operating in 107 countries, with a team of more than 140.000 people. Its mission is to develop and manage talent throughout the
world for the benefit of customers. Among the services offered are advertising, media investment, consumer insight, public relations, branding, communication for pharmaceutical industry, direct marketing, digital marketing and promotions and communications specialized. It is a group capable of offering services to customers integrated locally, multinationally and globally. Some of the companies that are part of this group are Young and Rubicam, Wunderman, Burson Marsteller, Landor, Sudler and Hennessey, MediaCom, Grey, GroupM, JWT and Ogilvy Group among others.


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