Opodo hires EuroTandem for push in France

Paris: Opodo, the online travel portal backed by airlines including British Airways, has appointed EuroTandem to handle its PR in France.

The agency hire comes ahead of what Opodo head of European PR Gail Gillogaley described as a fresh brand strategy to forge a reputation as an ‘all-round travel service’, as opposed to merely a flight-booking portal.

EuroTandem was hired following a four-way pitch against Edelman France, Weber Shandwick France and Zap.

The agency has replaced Self Image, which has handled PR for Opodo in France since the build-up to the portal’s launch in the country 15 months ago.

The EuroTandem account team, headed by chief executive and co-founder Remy Débrant, reports to London-based Gillogaley and also Opodo’s France country manager Petra Friedmann, who is based in Paris.

Gillogaley said EuroTandem would handle ‘creative strategic’ campaigns, seeking to maintain the brand’s position as what she described as the ‘second most-trafficked travel site in France’ after railways website sncf.com.

Opodo retains two other PR agencies in Europe: MacLaurin, which handles consumer PR in the UK, and Häberlein & Mauerer, which handles a similar brief across Germany. Gillogaley said neither of these contracts were being reviewed.

Opodo launched its first site – www.opodo.de – in Germany in November 2001; its UK site – www.opodo.co.uk – followed two months afterwards, with www.opodo.fr launching in April 2002.

In addition to British Airways, Opodo is also co-owned by Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Finnair, Iberia and KLM, in addition to tech and distribution firm Amadeus.

The online service, whose name derives from ‘Opportunity to do’, offers access to flights from more than 400 airlines, in addition to hire-cars and hotels.

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