Online Travel Portal to reopen pitch

The Online Travel Portal, a venture backed by nine major airlines,

has reopened talks with London agencies despite the appointment of BMP

DDB to its pounds 30 million pan-European account last December.



BMP, which handles advertising for American Airlines, is expected to

repitch for the business along with a number of undisclosed

agencies.



The move is believed to have been initiated by Nicolas de Santis, who

was appointed marketing director in February from his position as chief

marketing officer at the digital currency provider Beenz.



Other agencies have been approached by de Santis, who, sources say, is

keen to make his own decision now that he is in control of marketing on

the business. However, de Santis denied that he had reopened talks with

agencies.



The company has yet to appoint a media agency for the business.



The airlines involved in the venture are British Airways, Air France,

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

Airlines.



The portal is expected to be renamed in the near future. Wolff Olins was

appointed to develop the company's brand identity last year.



The portal, which is scheduled to launch in about eight months, will

sell travel-related products and services over the internet. It will aim

to give the consumer access to a wide inventory of airline details

across a range of airlines, including those outside the portfolio of

shareholders.



As the marketing director of the portal, de Santis will focus on the

brand strategy and marketing for the website's projected launch in nine

European countries. He joined Beenz in 1999 from the branding group

Twelve Stars, of which he was the president.



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