Following a pitching process that saw the competitive field eventually narrowed down to Colenso BBDO and Contagion, House of Travel (HOT) has decided to take its business to 100 College Hill.
Commenting on the decision to appoint Colenso, HOT marketing director Ken Freer said that he hopes the partnership will help to reinvigorate the travel customer experience.
“The travel industry is one of the most dynamic in the marketplace but, for many people, the process of planning a holiday has become a very functional process," Freer said in a release. "We wanted a strategy and ideas that captured the magic and excitement of travel and demonstrated how HOT makes the entire holiday experience more memorable – and that’s what we got from Colenso. We loved the quality and depth of their thinking, and we are thrilled to have them as part of the team for the journey we have ahead.”
Colenso chief executive Nick Garrett added: “It’s awesome when you get the chance to work with a hugely successful business and a team with such a depth of experience. It will be a significant transition for the business – it’s not just about comms, it’s about working from the inside out during an important time of change in the industry. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with House of Travel and we’re looking forward to developing a long-term relationship with the HOT team.”
(Previous story published on 19 May 2015) Down to two: House of Travel puts Contagion and Colenso to the final test
Following last year's appointment of Ken Freer as marketing director, House of Travel has been on the hunt for a creative agency partner.
And given that the company has in the last two years spent around $10 million per annum on marketing, numerous agencies threw their hats into the mix.
"We initially had seven agencies on our long list, which was shortened to three after a credentials presentation – Y&R, Colenso and Contagion," says Freer.
Then, following a subsequent pitch, Freer says the contenders were narrowed to Colenso and Contagion, which have now each been commissioned to work on discrete projects for the company (this marks another near miss for Y&R, which has featured on several major pitch lists over the last year).
The approach of having two competing agencies working on a projects as part of pitch was also recently used by Holden in the lead up to its decision to appoint Special Group, and it seems to make sense because it provides a means by which participating agencies are paid for their creative work.
Freer previously worked with Colenso when he served as the chief executive of Tourism Fiji, which means he is well aware of the capabilities of the the team on College Hill. However, Contagion will also back itself given that its digital nous aligns neatly with House of Travel's marketing strategy.
Last year, the company's digital manager Tim Paulsen told StopPress that as much as 40 percent of its ad spend was being used on Facebook, and that only 32 percent of its spend was being used in the traditional channels of radio and outdoor with the rest all being used in other digital channels. And, as the digital channel continues to grow, this will likely only increase over the next few years.