Orbitz yesterday announced the launch of Orbitz en Español, www.orbitz.com/es, a full-service Spanish-language travel website targeting the U.S. Hispanic market (read press release).  In 2011  Orbitz spent about $22 million in measured media, according to Kantar. Earlier this year Orbitz hired Publicis Groupe’s Spark as its media agency.  Orbitz “Hispanic move” deserves more attention. That is why we contacted Marie LaPlante, Sr. Director of Brand Marketing at Orbitz for the below Q&A. 

Portada: How does Orbitz market to the general market? What is its media mix (digital, print, tv, etc)?

Marie La Plante, Dr. Director of Brand Marketing, Orbitz:   “Orbitz does a mix of TV, print and online advertising. As we are an online company a large portion of our marketing/advertising is focused on online marketing. “

What is Orbitz general market media buying agency, which one is Orbitz Hispanic agency?

Marie La Plante: “Orbitz.com’s general market media buying agency is Spark. We currently are using the internal expertise of our brand marketing and online marketing teams and do not currently have a Hispanic agency.”

Does or will Orbitz have a presence in Latin American countries? If so what are the largest markets there?

Marie La Plante: “Orbitz en Español was launched to fill a void in the marketplace and target Spanish-language travelers in the U.S. No other travel company offers full-service travel products (air, car, hotel and vacation packages) to the Hispanic consumer in the U.S. However, Orbitz is a brand of Orbitz Worldwide (OWW). OWW has a portfolio of global brands including ebookers in Europe that offers points of sale across Europe including Spain.”

 How is the launch of the new Spanish-language site going to be supported in terms of media buys?

Marie La Plante: “As we are an online company, our primary marketing initiatives are on-line, specifically SEM with an initial focus on key Hispanic destination markets, i.e. Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Miami, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Dominican Republic and others.  In time, we plan to expand marketing levers and location coverage.”

What insights in terms of usability have you applied when building the Spanish-language site?

Marie La Plante: “Orbitz has served Spanish-speaking consumers for over five years through dedicated telesales agents. We took the booking trends, habits and insights from our telesales customers and used them as we designed the site. For example, the top 10 travel markets booked through our telesales agents are highlighted front and center on the homepage of Orbitz en Español. We want our customers to come to the site and see the destinations most appealing to them. Also, with multiple studies and research in the market showing Hispanics booking on mobile devices at three times the rate of the general population, we thought it was extremely important to launch a fast, powerful Spanish-language mobile website that makes it easy for travelers to search for and book flights, car rentals, vacation packages and hotels with exclusive, mobile-only discounts of up to 50 percent off hotels in over 240 cities around the world. “ 

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