Md. has marketing deal with Travelocity

September 06, 2006|By Stacey Hirsh | Stacey Hirsh,Sun reporter

The Maryland Department of Tourism said yesterday that potential visitors now can book Travelocity deals for hotels, flights and other attractions through its Web site, part of an arrangement that the department hopes will help boost tourism and increase hotel bookings in the state.

The tourism department and the online travel company have agreed that users will be able to make travel plans through a Travelocity tool on the tourism agency's Web site, www.visitmaryland.org.

Travelocity will pay the state a commission for all travel plans made through the Maryland Web site, company and state officials said yesterday.

Maryland is one of three states to have this agreement with Travelocity, said Joel Frey, a company spokesman. Travelocity has announced similar deals with Louisiana and Kentucky in recent months.

"These types of partnerships aren't new for Travelocity, it's just a way for us to get our technology onto other sites," Frey said.

"We're hoping to strike similar deals ... with other states around the country," he said.

As part of the Maryland deal, the state will also advertise on the Travelocity Web site, where consumers will be able to click through to visitmaryland.org from ads on Travelocity.com, said Dennis M. Castleman, director of tourism for the state.

That side of the agreement is funded in part by $50,000 from local tourism offices and $50,000 from the state, according to state officials.

The state's commission on travel arrangements made through visitmaryland.org is 4 percent to 50 percent of Travelocity's booking fee, depending on whether the consumer is making airline, hotel or activity reservations, according to the state.

Castleman said he believes the deal will increase tourism bookings in Maryland.

Last summer, the state took part in a trial where Travelocity promoted visitmaryland.org on its Web site. During that time frame, customers booked more than 3,000 hotel room reservations - a 300 percent increase over the comparable period a year earlier.

"That's a major increase in rooms," Castleman said.

"I think people feel very comfortable booking on Travelocity, people feel like they're getting a good value, and there's a lot of trust when they book on Travelocity, so it's a great partnership for the state of Maryland," he said.

John McLaughlin, a Baltimore-based advertising consultant, said the state's agreement with Travelocity is consistent with a longtime trend of national companies trying to maximize the marketing power of their Web sites.

"Maryland is doing something that all the progressive marketers are doing," McLaughlin said.

"You have to have a Web site, and a good one, but also the linkings, this is the way of the future. It's what's happening."

stacey.hirsh@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.