Accord buys Netizen in landmark deal

Accord Holdings, the company behind the Accord Search Marketing pay-per-click advertising agency, has purchased travel website design company Netizen in a landmark deal.

The deal will see the creation of a new full-service agency, known as Netizen Digital., combining the PPC expertise of ASM with the experience in travel website design, development and marketing of Netizen.

ASM managing director Lewis Lenssen will head up the new company while current Netizen MD Kate Bantick is understood to be stepping down. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

The purchase of Netizen and creation of Netizen Digital comes during a period of continued growth for Accord and ASM.

ASM has emerged as one of the top five PPC operations in the UK in recent years and handles around £25 million of business each year.

Lenssen said: “Travel companies are now realising the full potential of online marketing. The future lies in maximising ROI performance across a full range of integrated channels.

“Paid search and SEO will generate response, but if your website isn’t up to scratch, or if you don’t keep in touch with your existing customers, you are reducing your likely returns.

It is hoped the formation of Netizen Digital will offer current and new clients of the existing travel operations a wider array of marketing and development facilities in what is becoming an increasingly aggressive online travel sector.

“In this incredibly competitive market companies need to be consistent throughout the entire consumer buying experience,” Lenssen said.

“Netizen Digital will be committed to providing engaging online solutions that generate quality enquiries, persuade customers to purchase, build loyalty, and develop profitable long-term relationships.”

Netizen has been at the forefront of building a string of Web 2.0 initiatives for clients in 2006.

It created a Google Maps interface for a number of websites earlier this year, including The Adventure Company, and recently introduced a “live chat” system to allow consumers to send questions to travel company representatives over the internet.

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