DIRECT: First Choice’s DM job to Manifesto

Tour operator First Choice is introducing a new database marketing strategy to develop closer relationships with its customers.

Tour operator First Choice is introducing a new database marketing

strategy to develop closer relationships with its customers.



The company has brought in below-the-line agency Manifesto to develop a

new relationship programme after a three-way pitch, which also involved

Euro RSCG Direct and Tullo Marshall Warren.



Manifesto’s brief is believed to encompass all forms of direct

communications, including direct mail, telemarketing and links to First

Choice’s web site.



The travel firm’s web site features data capture and allows customers to

order brochures via the post. However, it does not yet include direct

booking facilities.



First Choice’s decision to implement an ongoing direct marketing

strategy follows news that rival Thomson Holidays is investing heavily

in its own customer relationship strategy, and has begun mailing five

million of its customers on a regular basis.



Thomson, which hired DM agencies Wunderman Cato Johnson and Judith

Donovan Associates last year, recently brought in Evans Hunt Scott to

develop a strategic plan across its database marketing operations.



Manifesto will work on First Choice’s core brand, First Choice

Holidays.



As well as selling holidays through other travel agents, First Choice

set up its own travel agency brand, Travel Choice, earlier this

year.



First Choice, which is the UK’s third biggest travel operator behind

Thomson and Airtours, recently announced that it is expanding by

acquiring two rival operators.



It is buying Unijet, the UK’s fifth largest tour operator, and

specialist long-haul operator Hayes & Jarvis.



This will make First Choice the largest supplier of long-haul package

holidays in the UK. The company is the subject of takeover speculation,

with Swiss giant, Kuoni, and Airtours both working on bid

strategies.



First Choice uses Walsh Trott Chick for its advertising. It spends

pounds 4m on advertising its holiday range (MMS).



Its last major push was the ’Talking Animals’ television campaign, at

the beginning of the year.



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