In the early 2000s, Europe’s dominant airlines – Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, KLM and Lufthansa
– formed a consortium with a big ambition: to take on Expedia and lastminute.com at their own game, and sell flights, car hire and travel online.
Working with McKinsey, Wolff Olins advised the consortium that it would need a distinctive big idea in order to win in a well-established market. Through a series of workshops with the consortium, we developed the idea of ‘experience’ – the first-hand knowledge and accumulated wisdom that separates the airlines from the newer online brands.
The website, for instance, would offer more information and expertise than other travel sites, including details like visas and vaccinations. We created Opodo – short for ‘opportunities to do’ – as a name that would be both memorable and pan-European. We then worked alongside Sapient to build the website.
Opodo launched in 2001, and now operates out of 13 European countries, with four websites in the following languages; German, English, French and Italian. Opodo has grown by acquiring various travel websites. Today Opodo has access to over 500 airlines, 65,000 hotel properties and 7,000 car rental locations worldwide. As Opodo says, ‘we don’t just book flights. We help you discover the world’. Opodo has gross sales of €1 billion.