NEW YORK: LATAM Airlines Group, the holding company for the largest airline in Latin America, has selected MMGY NJF as its corporate communications and PR firm in North America.
Julie Freeman, EVP and MD of MMGY NJF, is overseeing the team on the account in New York and Miami. Their priorities include addressing the airline’s COVID-19 response and bankruptcy recovery, while promoting travel to its South American destinations.
The agency is targeting U.S. travelers in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco for trips to South America, focusing on Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru.
MMGY NJF is the North American division of MMGY Global, which was created in 2011 when MMG Worldwide merged with Ypartnership.
“[The past 12 months] was a tough year but our clients needed us more than ever to help them navigate their messaging as different parts of the country and the world vacillated between being open and closed to travelers,” said Freeman, whose agency focuses on travel and hospitality.
After COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted from other countries such as Brazil, MMGY NJF will expand LATAM’s marketing to additional locations.
The agency is taking on media relations, creative campaigns and data-driven research for LATAM. The firm will reach out to consumer travel and lifestyle outlets including Latinx and BIPOC-focused media and travel trade publication, online, in print and broadcast. Under the Solidarity Plane program, throughout 2021, the airline is transporting COVID-19 vaccines at no cost within the countries where it operates.
“We know from our research that safety remains travelers’ primary concern,” said Freeman, advising that travel agents stay informed about airlines and destinations requiring COVID testing or proof of vaccinations.
Previously, Roar Media represented LATAM, according to an MMGY NJF spokesperson. A Roar representative did not return PRWeek’s request for comment.
As of Thursday, 43% of the U.S. population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, and 29.5% had been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And after more than a year of restrictions, the national mood is shifting.
“While many other countries around the world are still experiencing high infection rates and will remain off-limits to Americans for now, we expect that more countries will start allowing fully vaccinated travelers in the coming months,” stated Freeman. “Our research shows that currently 19% of Americans plan to travel internationally in 2021.”
That’s good news for the firm, whose clients include Etihad Airways, the Costa Rica Tourism Board, Visit California, Travel Texas, Karisma Hotel & Resorts and the Namron Hospitality Group.
Beach destinations that are open to Americans are seeing an increase in demand, according to The New York Times, which reported that United Airlines was scheduling 90 more flights per week to or from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America than it had in May of 2019.
Even with travel optimism in the air, challenges lie ahead as the pandemic took a toll on the agency’s new airline client. LATAM posted a net loss of $962.5 million in Q4 2020 due to COVID-19’s impact on Latin America. For all of last year, the airline’s net loss was $4.5 billion.
This story was updated on May 1 to correct MMGY NJF's client roster.