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TOP ONLINE AGENCY


The top online travel agencies in the country were competing to impress TTG’s editor Sophie Griffiths and Gran Canaria’s Katerina Bomshtein to win a place in the coveted Top 50 line-up


Kinloch, who founded this independent ski agency back in 1995. Skiline was one of the first travel


companies to create its own website in 1996 and then successfully built up its online business over the following years. But the OTA suffered a blow in 2012 when it fell down the Google search rankings due to technical issues. The problem persisted for about three years and Angus admits it would have been “tough to survive” without existing customers’ loyalty. But Skiline has turned this around –


TTG’s Rob Gill and editor Sophie Griffiths quiz the finalists .HOLIDAYSPLEASE


Founders Charles Duncombe and Richard Dixon use the wonders of modern technology (Skype and a portable web cam) to give a quick tour of their office in Birmingham. The OTA, which was launched in


2002 with a marketing budget of £200, prides itself on “taking the best of the high street and combining it with the best of the internet”. Sales are generated through the


Holidaysplease website and then handled by an expert team of 65 homeworkers. There are a host of incentives to encourage homeworkers, including personalised objectives – one homeworker is getting married and will receive a pair of Jimmy Choos shoes if she hits her target.


The latest move


is the purchase of a villa near Malaga in Spain which can be used by staff for free. We hear examples


of how homeworkers have gone “above and beyond” for clients – two agents continued to take calls from clients despite going into labour. This level of personal service is


paying off for Holidaysplease, which is averaging a score of around 9.9 on reviews site Trustpilot.


.SKILINE


There is a heartwarming tale of overcoming adversity from Angus


organic business has grown by 85% between November and January, while pay-per-click advertising is also increasing traffic to the site. The company, which has 16 staff, has introduced an online chatbox to field enquiries from customers and developed an inhouse quote system. Offline marketing includes installing giant TV screens, in partnership with Club Med, at four indoor ski centres and attending TTG’s LGBT Conference, later creating blogs to attract the gay ski market.


.LOVEHOLIDAYS


The idea behind Loveholidays has been to create an OTA for consumers


who were not sure where they wanted to go on their holiday, explains founder and chief operating officer Jonny Marsh. The brand’s website enables


holidaymakers to search for holidays across a range of non-destination criteria such as price, hotel star rating, or proximity to a beach. “Every single OTA requires you to choose a destination,” says Johnny. “But not everybody knows where they want to go, so we feel we’ve taken a genuine consumer need and filled that gap with technology.” The plan is clearly working, with


Loveholidays, which only launched in 2012, featuring in the Sunday Times Fast Track list of the UK’s fastest- growing private companies over the past three years. It is now among the top 10 Atol holders in the country. The company has recently moved


to a new headquarters in Lancing, West Sussex, where it employs 150 staff, although the sales team is made up of around 90 homeworkers. One of the current aims of the business is to improve customer service by offering “first call resolution” to clients, and a CRM platform has been installed to create more touch points with customers. Marketing is entirely online with a


focus on search, email campaigns and social media.


The Holidaysplease team 40


The Skiline team TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST


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