Part of TUI UK, the travel group that also includes Thomson Holidays and Lunn Poly, Portland has followed the introduction of its personalised online booking function in June with a major PR campaign to increase its profile beyond travel press.
‘We’ll look to team up with relevant brands and experts in areas such as health, fitness and fashion,’ said TUI head of PR Rachel O’Reilly, adding that considerations such as getting fit for holidays and not ‘committing fashion faux pas on the beach’ were becoming more important for consumers.
O’Reilly said a focus on lifestyle media was appropriate given that ‘women are often the key bookers of holidays’.
Portland has hired its first external agency in BGB Communications (formerly BGB & Associates) after a three-way pitch to an account worth in excess of £50,000.
‘Portland has never had its own dedicated PR resource and has tended to be a bit lost within the business,’ said O’Reilly, adding that Portland general manager Stephen Lane has restructured product and pricing strategies since his appointment last year, allowing TUI to invest in the brand.
The campaign emphasises the ‘value for money’ Portland offers, as well as its 25-year history.
‘Confidence is a key message we need to get across, because Portland has been around an awful lot longer than rival brands such as Direct Holidays and Eclipse,’ said O’Reilly.
BGB has also taken on Portland’s press office function to deal with late deals, trends and commentary.