ebookers.com to revive consumer PR with SPA Way

Online travel firm ebookers.com, which abandoned external consumer PR support last year as the global tourism recession hit, has recruited The SPA Way as it resurrects the brief.

The firm, headed by CEO Dinesh Dhamija, shelved all consumer-facing comms work last year in the face of mounting woe in its sector.

But after a resurgence in its business this year UK head of marketing Morra Aarons said it was time to reinvest in PR: 'Because of the downturn something had to go but we are in much better shape now.'

She added that she hoped to see an increase in coverage in the mainstream media, particularly women's supplements and magazines.

Second quarter figures show gross sales for the company rose 46 per cent to £71m across Europe. Its loss after tax for this period has been reduced to £3.5m against a 2001 figure of £8.6m.

Consumer PR was handled last year by, among others, Text 100 and Burson-Marsteller. Its IR, corporate and financial PR brief, handled by Cubitt Consulting, was unaffected by the global downturn. Cubbit replaced GCI financial for that brief in February last year (PRWeek, 19 January 2001)

Also surviving the recession was the firm's only UK in-house PR professional, PR manager Jessica Potter.

The firm operates across Europe and acquired 11 companies between 1999 and 2001. These included original parent Flightbookers (ebookers was originally the online division of Flightbookers), Lawson International, and Scandinavian online travel firm MrJet.com. Dhamija owns 59 per cent of ebookers.

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