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Pegasus reaches hotel groups with multichannel campaign

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For more than 75 years, Pegasus Solutions has provided the hotel industry with a range of reservation and distribution services. Today, it's a global company with 17 offices in 12 countries that provides a universal electronic reservations switch for 35 major hotel companies, 130 hotel brands totaling more than 60,000 hotel properties, as well as a majority of the world's travel agencies.

Pegasus serves independent and small hotel groups through its Representation Services unit, giving these properties full-service representation, sales, marketing, reservation and data support services that they are not getting from a centralized, parent brand infrastructure.

"Representation services denotes activities and technologies aimed at supporting hotels in selling their rooms-and potentially other services, such as restaurants and spas-via the Internet and travel agent systems," said Peter Gerstle, marketing director at Pegasus. "For independents and smaller chains, it is uneconomical for them to sell their rooms on their own."

Starting in June 2004 and running into 2005, Pegasus ran a campaign specifically designed to generate greater interest and awareness for its Utell and Unirez representation services among these smaller properties. The goals of the campaign were very specific: Generate 75 immediate leads globally and grow the opt-in database of prospects by 1,000.

Targeted effort

Setting such hard targets was crucial for an efficient and successful campaign, Gerstle said. "An immediate lead was classified as a hotel that expressed an immediate buying interest, wanted to learn more about Pegasus representation services immediately or had a different provider whose contract was expiring in the next three months and was willing to consider a new provider," he said.

Pegasus' campaign was created primarily in-house and featured a multichannel, integrated mix of direct mail, e-mail, Web sites and telemarketing, Gerstle said. First, the company sent oversized postcards to its hotel property target list, raising awareness about Pegasus and demonstrating its expert position in representation services. It also sent follow-up e-mails a few days later, which included a link directing recipients to a personalized Web site with feedback mechanisms. Finally, the telemarketing effort directed follow-up calls referring to the direct mail and e-mail components.

"All campaign media used the same core messaging concept-the cost-effectiveness of representation services and Pegasus' expertise-with each medium delivering the message in the most compelling way," Gerstle said.

"All elements featured our strong corporate colors-red, white and black-with the direct mail piece capturing attention with a playful drawing theme and the Web site using animation."

The campaign successfully generated a 100% awareness of Pegasus as the premier provider in this space, Gerstle said. It also generated business from 50% of its targets.

The telemarketing portion of the campaign was particularly successful, Gerstle said.

"The success for us was determined by the quality of the conversations-we had transcripts of them, where legally allowed-as well as the positive feedback from our telemarketing agents," he said. "We also exceeded our opt-in target, indicating we achieved trust and relevance. Although not conclusively connected to the campaign, the number of unsolicited calls to our sales department for information about our representation services rose substantially in the six months following the campaign."

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