Case Study

Expedia

Challenge

Expedia, the world’s largest online travel company, frequently faces attacks on its business model from the hotel industry, who perpetually tries to convince states to pass new taxes on online travel booking. Expedia hired Tusk Strategies to coordinate grassroots initiatives that identify, recruit and mobilize stakeholders (small business owners and labor leaders) to oppose the new taxes.

Approach

Working with Expedia, Tusk identified support from business owners in states across the nation to help influence legislation at all levels of government.  Our work covered over 24 states and included campaign management and strategic communications for the Travel Technology Association, which includes Expedia and other major players in the online travel industry such as Travelocity, Priceline and Orbitz.


Results

Tusk was able to help influence legislation in two dozen states (only Oregon enacted the tax during our time on the project). The most notable victory came in Florida. After a decade-long fight, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Expedia and other online travel sites don’t have to charge hotel tax on the fees they charged when customers used them to book rooms. Additionally, in Tennessee, state legislators also rejected a proposed change to state law that would have collected more taxes from online travel companies like Expedia, hurting the state’s crucial tourism industry.

We built a national campaign to protect our customers and Tusk Strategies helped us marshall the support we needed to win in state after state, year after year.

Brent Thompson

SVP of Government and Corporate Affairs at Expedia