Magazine article Marketing

Changes on Horizon

Magazine article Marketing

Changes on Horizon

Article excerpt

Changes on Horizon

Thomson, the UK's largest tour operator, is relaunching the Horizon name with a promise to take it out of the "bargain basement".

A new brochure of added-value holidays is being introduced, and Thomson claims Horizon will deliver a profit for the first time in six years as it claws its way back to the upper end of the mass market.

The story of Midland-based Horizon is widely cited in the holiday industry as an object lesson in bad branding. Horizon went from being a profitable operator at the quality end of the mass market in the late 70s and early 80s to a failed "me-too" price competitor in 1988.

Several big volume campaigns tripled Horizon's business, but demolished its quality edge between 1986 and 1988, when it discounted a quarter of its holidays and turned in a loss of 12m [pounds].

But now Horizon is back, talking quality and predicting healthy profits. "We've been through the price market and we're back to brand marketing," says Steve Allen, the trouble-shooting Horizon managing director who was sent in by Thomson in June 1989, five months after Thomson paid Bass 75m [pounds] for the company. …

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