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Trip.com, Nickelodeon in Marketing Pact

Online travel site Trip.com is aiming to boost its position in the competitive field of Internet travel players, through a partnership with Viacom's Nickelodeon properties.

Parsippany, N.J.-based Trip.com, which is in the midst of a major brand-awareness ad campaign, will become the exclusive travel-booking partner on NickJr.com, a site geared for parents with young children. Additionally, a co-branded site, slated to launch later this year, will feature Trip.com's discount travel packages.

The co-branded travel site will receive promotion through Nickelodeon's flagship cable network, as well as its Nick Jr., Nick at Nite and TV Land networks. The media group's "Nick Jr. on CBS" Saturday morning program block also will feature ads. At the same time, Trip.com will feature content from NickJr.com.

The alliance is the first such deal for either company. Details of the partners' financial arrangement were not disclosed, although the value of the agreement is said to be in the millions.

The news comes as part of a $40 million advertising push by Trip.com, a subsidiary of travel and real estate marketing giant Cendant .

The agreement with Nickelodeon aims to place Trip.com in a major travel-industry sweet spot. In addition to 20 percent of all domestic trips including children, the firm said that recent research it conducted with Harris Interactive indicates that family-related trips tops the list of 2002 travel plans, and of the 67 percent of Americans planning a summer vacation, 65 percent will vacation with family.

"By creating co-branded, family focused-travel packages, this agreement allows Trip.com to tap into the powerful brand recognition of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.'s popular characters," said Mike Skagerlind, senior vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon Online. It also provides direct access to NickJr.com, the premier destination for parents with young children."

Meanwhile, Nickelodeon said the deal speaks to the network's ability to link cross-media deals -- which has in recent years become a priority for parent Viacom.

Executives at Cendant's Trip Network, which operates Trip.com, added that the agreement is the first of what will be a series of marketing partnerships for the site.

"As part of our ongoing strategy to build Trip.com as a leading travel Web site, we continue to develop innovative partnerships to leverage our marketing, increase value to partners, and enhance the overall value provided to Trip.com customers," said Michael Simon, senior vice president of business development and sales for Trip Network, Inc.