Leading UK tour operator First Choice Holidays and Flights has
reviewed PR accounts, believed to be worth a six-figure fee, for three
of its brands.
The firm, which is a division of travel group First Choice Holidays, has
appointed BGB and Associates to promote core brand First Choice and
direct-sell tour operation Eclipse. Addison Willars will handle First
Choice’s upmarket brand, Sovereign.
Hill and Knowlton previously handled PR for all three brands and did not
repitch by mutual agreement. Consolidated Communications, Millbank PR
and Communications in Business also competed for the accounts.
First Choice ditched the name, Owners Abroad, in 1994. However, it has
failed to create a strong brand proposition, despite being the UK’s
third-biggest tour operator.
’We launched with a big bang, bright colours, a bright logo. But I don’t
think it had a lot of legs in terms of telling people what First Choice
is all about. We are looking for more than name awareness,’ said
Virginia Dick, First Choice marketing and communications manager.
BGB plans to build the Eclipse and First Choice brands by encouraging
other travel brands to co-sponsor events and promotions as well as
promoting the brands in the trade and national press.
Addison Willars, which has worked on First Choice-owned ski brands
Skibound and Ski Partners since February, will aim to position Sovereign
as the leading brand in top-of-the-range holidays. Sovereign’s holidays
include cruises on P&O’s Grand Princess, the largest cruise ship in the
For the six months ending April 1998, the First Choice Holidays group
announced losses before tax of pounds 17.8 million, an improvement on
losses the previous year of pounds 22.8 million. Earlier this summer,
the company bought rival tour operators Unijet and Hayes and Jarvis,
adding to its existing divisions: tour operators Air 2000 and Signature
Vacations and airline seatbroking business Viking Aviation. Unijet and
Hayes and Jarvis handle their PR in-house.