Friday, July 10, 2009


There are good news stories to tell even in a less-than-stellar economy. The Toronto Star published a story about discounts of up to 50 per cent on Toronto hotel rooms and mentioned that locals might want to consider “staycations” given the Canadian dollar is at 86 cents compared to 98 cents U.S. a year ago. “You can get the most stars for the lowest price in Toronto,” said Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group, part of the online travel site Expedia. It was a great soundbite: simple, pithy, easy to understand and memorable. It drove home the message and enticed consumers to go online and see for themselves how good the deals really are. Similarly effective was Sean Shannon, managing director at, who said: “Typically at this time of year, we’re sold out, or only have rooms at very high prices… This year, the prices are lower than they’ve been in years. We’re back to the post 9/11 days.” The other communications lesson in this story was that these online travel companies very effectively attached themselves to an issue that was top-of-mind for Canadians, namely the economy. By “slip-streaming” that powerful media issue, and then providing a new hook to it, these companies drove a good strong story by the Star’s Ellen Roseman. A worthy Touchdown.

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