Airtours, Britain’s second largest holiday company, is talking to
agencies about raising its profile to boost its flagging holiday sales.
The Lancashire-based operator is in discussions with shops in London
and Manchester after the Miami cruise company, Carnival Cruise Lines,
acquired a 29.5 per cent stake in Airtours in February. Carnival is a
major US advertiser, with a marketing-led approach.
At least two Manchester shops - Stowe Bowden Wilson and BDH - are
understood to be making full creative, strategic and media presentations
for the pounds 6.5 million account next week. It is believed that
Airtours is also holding discussions with London agencies, including
The main Airtours account is currently with the Manchester-based shop,
Sass Panayi. Media is handled by the Media Centre.
The pitches are being organised by Airtours’ marketing director, Richard
Airtours’ sales are reportedly behind those of its main rivals, First
Choice - which launched a TV campaign through Ogilvy and Mather in
February - and Thomson.
Carrick, who was unavailable for comment, has had an up-and-down
relationship with agencies in the past. A known cost-cutter, Carrick’s
dealings with London agencies have often foundered during price
negotiations. Airtours’ relationship with Bartle Bogle Hegarty in the
early 90s only lasted a few weeks because of disagreements about
This could be set to change. Under the influence of Carnival, Airtours
is planning to put more resources into the expanding cruise market.
Carnival is famous for having taken cruising - formerly a rich man’s
treat - to the masses. The current discussions may in part be about this