The former On Holiday Group and MyTravel boss Steve Endacott, has been appointed by a Teletext Holidays as Non-Exec Chairman to lead its expansion over the next three years.
Commenting Endacott said “I have enjoyed taking some time out to enjoy life recently and make a full review of where I see travel going in the next few years. It is clear to me that the migration to mobile and the resulting further escalation in Google advertising costs, will restrict the business models likely to succeed. In my opinion the successful travel businesses are likely one of the following three.
- “niche” specialists
- online players with a recognised “Brand”
- having customer acquisition models outside of Google.
“Therefore, the opportunity to lead the expansion and regeneration of a household name in travel such as Teletext Holidays was irresistible”.
New management team see huge potential in the brand to deliver strong growth for business in next 3 years
Teletext Holidays currently carries circa 300,000 passengers per annum, prompted brand recognition of 28%, with up to 75% of its current online traffic coming from Brand related terms. This low cost of advertising combined with a low cost, high performance Indian call centre, makes it a highly scalable and profitable business, claims recently appointed Customer and Marketing Director, Tom Sainsbury.
Commenting on the potential of the brand, Sainsbury said “The Teletext Brand has massive heritage value, with over 20m UK customers having brought holidays via the brand in its 25 year life. Research shows that Teletext Holidays brand values are very entrenched with customers, standing for a trustworthy place to buy low cost, late availability deals, booked by phone. The challenge is consideration not awareness, therefore my job is not to establish new brand values, but simply to communicate to customers that Teletext Holidays is still around and relevant to their needs”.
Technology Product Director Graham Farrugia commented “Most travel companies are pushing hard for their customers to book fully online, without any assistance. Teletext Holidays is taking the diametrically opposite approach and want all customers to call to book, once they have done some basic research on the holiday they require. We believe that in the current online world, customers are faced with “offer overload” and many want the human touch when making that final commitment to booking their holiday”.
“Teletext Holidays has focused recent technology efforts on giving not just consumers, but also our call centre team the best tools that allow them to access the latest, lowest cost deals, searching by numerous variables, such as price, type, location, temperature and user review score (As defined by partner Trip Advisor), so that they can make recommendations on the best value holiday that meet a customers requirements”.
Endacott commented “Online conversion continues to decrease and with many OTAs seeing conversion of less than 1%, with customers on average visiting 23 sites and returning to a site 3 times before booking. Teletext is achieving high enough call to click ratios and phone conversion rates to mean the overall conversion rate from visit to booking on the phone is higher than most online booking services. Hence, we are achieving a higher conversion, whilst giving customers a more human booking experience.
Single supplier deal has allowed Teletext Holidays to deliver better quality products to customers.
Customer and Marketing Director Tom Sainsbury also highlighted the benefits of moving Teletext Holidays from a media play with 15 suppliers to a single supplier feed from OTA partner Truly Travel. He said “Historically, Teletext was not able to deliver on the promises it was making to customers around providing a great holiday experience as we had no influence over the end product sold. We also did not have any information about the customers booking via us, which meant customer profiling and 1:1 customer marketing was not possible. The business could not operate profitably using this model, as each customer had to be re-acquired repeatedly. Moving to single supplier Truly Travel has allowed us to resolve these issues and also impose SLA’s over the call centre delivery and customer experience. We see both aspects as crucial to achieving the significant increase in passenger volumes that we have targeted over the next three years. The customer has to come first, and whilst we were disappointed to see the negative impacts that resulted on some of our previous partners, this was the right decision for our customers and for the long term success of the Teletext Holidays brand”
Teletext Holidays has had its most profitable 12 months for the last 8 years in 2014 and will shortly post its financial results.
Endacott commented “The last 12 months have been about bedding down the move to a single supplier and developing the relationship between Teletext Holidays and its outsourced call centre partner Truly Travel. Having successfully completed this it is now my role to lead the new board on an aggressive expansion program driven by extensive above the line brand advertising and investments in technology infrastructure”.