Maximize, the media planning and buying agency from the Group M stable has bagged the prized Rs 10 crore account of market leaders SOTC, a division of Kuoni (India) Group. The account involves handling the entire media related activities for Kuoni's international and domestic travel trade.
Kuoni Travel Holding, Switzerland acquired a 100 per cent equity in SOTC on May 22, 1997. The Company was renamed Kuoni Travel (India) and SOTC World Famous Tours has since then become a valued brand of Kuoni. The company’s creative accounts are handled by Saatchi & Saatchi, SSC&B, Flagship Advertising and Jaya advertising.
Confirming the move Manjiri Kamath, general manager, Maximize Mumbai says, "Yes we have bagged this account. We will be handling Kuoni's whole business of India travel and international tours. It is a large account and very challenging and exciting".
Noel Swain, senior general manager-marketing services, Kuoni Travel India expresses, "We are happy to have Maximize as our media planning and buying agency. They are a part of a large media group and have tremendous strengths in media buying and planning. Also, it is their innovative approach towards media planning which is what has led us to zero in on Maximize".
He further adds, “We started working with Maximize from January 1, 2004 and since then they have done amazing work and have delivered more than expected and going forward we are hoping that this would be even better.”
Talking about the account and how different it is, Kamath explains, “The tourism industry operates in a very reactive manner. If one travel company releases an ad on packaged tours to Europe or US, immediately the other travel companies follow with their advertisements. It is very competitive. The key strategy is therefore to implement fast”.
The outbound tourism business which saw a slow and stagnant growth in 2003, due to reasons such as earthquakes, the Gulf war and finally SARS, are now gunning for growth in 2004. “There is a pent up demand being witnessed in the market,” elucidates Swain. It is understood that the leading market players are aiming for a 30 per cent growth in the packaged tour business this year.
As for the domestic tourism industry, travel and tourism sector in India is the third largest foreign exchange earner. The foreign exchange earnings for calendar year 2003 were up by 21.4 per cent to Rs 17,000 crore, an increase from Rs 14,000 crore.
SOTC has already announced a Rs 99,990 European holiday deal for a family of three (two adults and one kid). The price per individual works out to Rs 33,000, which is roughly equivalent to the air-fare to Europe.
The nine-day holiday price includes return airfare, accommodation, sightseeing, daily breakfasts and buffet Indian meals. SOTC also has other family packages like a 14 day ‘Grand’ tour of Europe for Rs 1.49 lakh and a 19 day ‘Classic’ tour for Rs 1.89 lakh.