Travelocity Drops $40 Million for New Ads

Amid guarded optimism in the online travel industry, Web travel booker Travelocity is debuting a $40 million campaign designed to highlight the site as more than just a place to buy airline tickets.

Instead, the Fort Worth, Texas-based travel site’s “Travelocity Can” campaign looks to highlight the site’s special travel-planning tools. The effort begins with two television spots, which will air Tuesday evening and which show travelers using the site’s special features to book exciting vacations.

The two 30-second spots feature real-life users discussing how Travelocity helped plan their trips. The ads focus on tools like Dream Maps, which shows flights within users’ specified budgets, and Intellideck, which lets users take a virtual tour of a prospective cruise ship prior to booking their rooms.

“Travel is such a personal product and consumers need a resource that satisfies travel needs at the individual level,” said Michael Stacy, senior vice president of consumer marketing for Travelocity.com. “‘Travelocity Can’ really showcases the tools and resources available through Travelocity.com that create a consumer shopping experience unparalleled in the industry: confident, informed buyers can create virtually any travel experience they want.”

In coming weeks, the site also plans to roll out radio, print and online ads.

The campaign, designed by Dallas-based agency of record The Richards Group, comes as the Web travel sector is attempting to bounce back from one of the worst climates for vacationing in recent memory. Orbitz last week filed to go public, seeking to raise up to $125 million in expectation of increased vacation spending coming in tandem with economic improvement.

Travelocity itself has gone through fairly major changes, having recently been bought out by its majority owner, the Sabre Holdings Corp. . Looking to capitalize on a return in the travel sector, Sabre bought back an outstanding 30 percent stake in Travelocity at about half the price the spin-off fetched in early 2000.

Nevertheless, online travel sites’ core business — booking airline reservations — remains in some amount of uncertainty as trouble continues to plague the major air carriers. The largest public players reported a decline in April revenue, while U.S. Airways continues looking for ways to cut costs in order to apply for federal aid.

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