Evolution of strategy. Travelstart-up stories 26/30

back over the ten years we have been in business existed I can see that there
were two distinct shifts in strategy.

Our first
strategy was very simple – transparency. To bring to the web what the whole
world of travel agents already knew. Make airline offers bookable 24/7-365 days
a year online. That’s been a very simple strategy even though it was very hard
to actually achieve. Technology was non-existent. Starting an online travel company
that made fares and timetables accessible for everyone was a good sell and
worked up until 2001-2002. Internet grew and people were slowly starting to
move online to purchase their tickets.

Consumer behaviour
shifted in favour for online travel companies. Main drivers were the Sept 11 terror
attacks and the emergence of low cost airlines with rotten cheap tickets to a degree
that no one could resist bringing up their credit cards.

Our first
shift or change of strategy was really pure evolution. Finding tickets online
was now commonplace and nothing special. Many competitors decided to go for the
portal play and be broader. We decided to go deeper and focus on cheap tickets.
Everything in the company now had to be focused on great deals and keep our overheads
low. Companies with a low cost focus normally also has the best growth and
discipline, we figured.

There’s a delusion
about low cost. People might think that you have to be cheap to sell cheap
tickets. Au contraire. A company selling low cost products has to be efficient
and focused on quality because the mark ups are minimal, so there’s little room
for error. The quality is in the details. So in all aspects; technology,
processes, customer service etc we need to be persistent in getting better to
be able to keep the promise of a low price.

The third shift
in our strategy, and the most remarkable is the one we are going through
now  – The shift towards great
service. The Internet has changed consumer’s service level expectancy. Service
is now luck or chance. We decided to do it different. Service must at all
things be our core. We believe that people are willing to pay extra for great
service and if they aren’t we will still get the tickets at lowest possible
price but with a little less service. This is by far the most stimulating phase
Travelstart ever experienced, it has energized everyone.

And will
this strategy pay off? Yes, you bet – big time. People love service always did and
always will.


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