Carat wins pounds 30m Online Travel Portal task

Carat International has won the pounds 30 million media account for

the Online Travel Portal, following a head-to-head pitch against

MindShare.



The Online Travel Portal, which is a venture backed by nine major

airlines, had originally invited four media agencies to pitch, with

Starcom Motive and OMD UK believed to be the other two agencies involved

in the initial stages of the media review.



The creative account is still under review, although it is understood

that Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has been dropped from the shortlist, while

Leagas Delaney and one other agency have made it through to the final

round.



BMP DDB, the incumbent on the account, decided not to repitch for the

business. The agency was hired in December to work on the creative

account, but the account was put up for review following the arrival of

Nicolas de Santis, who joined the company in February from Beenz, the

e-currency provider.



The Online Travel Portal, which is launching in six months' time, plans

to sell travel-related products and services over the internet.



Consumers will be able to gain access to details on a range of airlines,

including those outside the portfolio of shareholders, as well as gain

information on car hire and hotel accommodation.



The nine airlines in the venture include British Airways, Air France,

Iberia, Austrian Airlines, Alitalia, Finnair, KLM, Aer Lingus and

Lufthansa.



The Online Travel Portal, which will reveal its brand name next week,

will be launched in nine European countries.



The joint venture alliance is the first of its kind. Previously,

airlines have sold their flights and holidays online separately.



Wolff Olins was appointed in December, alongside BMP, to develop the

company's brand identity.