Saturday, August 8, 2009

getaroom, getaroom,, the hotel-booking site and call center business introduced by founders David Litman and Bob Diener, just fired off $10 million worth of TV, radio and print ads in key markets across the country.

You can view one of the 30-second spots, unveiling the theme song to the tune of the William Tell Overture, on youtube.

"Name recognition is key to generating awareness and driving consumers to the website and call center," said Diener, in the press release announcing the ads. "These ads cut through the clutter and once you see and hear them our name certainly stays top of mind."

Litman and Diener delivered the advertising the old-fashioned way: They wrote, directed and paid for the ads themselves.

These guys know what they are doing. I have visions of them pacing the Dallas call center at this moment, correcting the miscues of call center agents and grabbing the headsets themselves, taking customers' calls.

As you may recall, lists published rates on its website, but consumers can register and phone the call center for unpublished discounts, said to "typically" be 10 percent to 25 percent, but tapping out at 50 percent.

Not that there are a bunch of novices in the call center and filling out hotel sales teams.

The Dallas Business Journal reported that hired many of its 30 full-time and 20 part-time employees from the ranks of, Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.

You can imagine the call going out to former employees of the Diener-Litman-run, which IAC finished acquiring in June 2003 and Expedia now owns, saying, "we're back."

The two had taken a five-year sabbatical from the travel industry because of a noncompete agreement with

The Dallas Business Journal said projects $45 million in revenue for the first year.

Some other things that has going for it include: an 800 number with the word "hotels" (800-hotels-8) in it, and an understanding of social media.

There's a bit of irony in a company that is pushing consumers to book over the telephone, instead of online for the best discounts, appears very adept at playing on the social media airwaves.

Here's's Facebook page.

Here's Diener gabbing on

When you register for, there are links at the bottom of the page to on Facebook and Twitter.

And, in another interesting twist, Travel Dividends believes that the commissions pays through its travel affiliate program are "rather rich," inferring that could make some headway against more modest programs offered by Expedia, Hotwire, Travelocity, Priceline and Orbitz.

Diener tells me that in addition to the company's first advertising campaign, "much more is coming." just starting offering inventory from Barcelona hotels and plans on introducing other cities in Europe later in August, Diener says.

Launching a $10 million advertising campaign for a start-up is a pretty good start, especially when you realize that the duo made a few pennies from selling and have deep pockets.

William Tell Overture or not, I think you will be hearing the name a lot in the future.


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