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lastminute.com with new Pan-European leadership structure

lastminute.com is to implement new structural and leadership changes that will enhance the company`s position in the online travel and leisure industry with the creation of two new company-wide divisions…

lastminute.com is to implement new structural and leadership changes that will enhance the company`s position in the online travel and leisure industry with the creation of two new company-wide divisions; business-to-consumer and business-to-business.

The B2C and B2B focus will be adopted across all of the13 European countries in which lastminute.com is present and has led to a number of exciting new positions and appointments as well as a new operating mode.



Business-to-Consumer (including the flagship lastminute.com brand) will be led by Alfonso Castellano. He is promoted from his current role as Managing Director, Italy and Spain and Group MD of Consumer Strategy to be Senior Vice President, Travelocity Europe and Group MD, Consumer Brands. Castellano is responsible for the development and trading performance of all consumer brands and the consumer teams in each country will report to him.



lastminute.com’s Business-to-Business portfolio consists of its private label/distribution businesses (including OTC Technologies) and the leading well-known travel trade brands holiday autos and medhotels.com.

Vic Darvey is promoted from his current role as Commercial Director to the role of Vice President, Distribution and Business Development. Darvey will have responsibility for Private Labels and Distribution deals (including OTC Technologies) across all of lastminute.com’s European assets.



Brian Murphy is promoted from his current role Group MD holiday autos to the role of Vice President, holidayandmore. holidayandmore is the umbrella proposition covering holiday autos and medhotels.com, two of the group’s leading brands. Murphy will take direct responsibility for these businesses at a European & International level. Murphy will report directly to CEO Ian McCaig.



UK Managing Director, Mark Jones, will work directly with CEO Ian McCaig to build out the B2B organisation defined above. Mark’s role subsequent to this build phase being completed will be the subject of a future announcement.



As part of lastminute.com’s new European structure, the new role of Chief Operating Officer is created and all Operations and Customer Service teams across Europe will move to report directly to the COO to promote best practice and service excellence across the business and to work more closely with Travelocity’s industry-leading global team. Chief Financial Officer Ed Kamm is appointed COO in the new structure and all Operations Directors across Europe will report to him going forward. Kamm reports direct to McCaig.



Martha Ross, VP Global and Corporate Accounting for TSG, will move to Europe to replace Kamm as CFO.



The existing roles of Country Managing Directors will be divided into B2B and B2C leaders, who will report to their respective leaders in the B2B and B2C organisations above.



Group Marketing, technology, product, human resources, legal and programmes teams will work as central ‘shared services’ functions supporting both the B2B and B2C business divisions, sharing best practice and driving efficiencies. All these functions will continue to report directly to McCaig.



McCaig said: “I am delighted to announce this new and exciting leadership framework, which I passionately believe will drive us towards achieving our strategic business objectives and creating an even more rewarding environment for our amazing employees. lastminute.com is the most exciting consumer brand in the business and this approach will ensure it flourishes and goes from strength to strength. Our other consumer brands will also undoubtedly benefit from our new approach. We also have a very strong B2B portfolio, which will be much better supported by the new organisation. I am excited about this new structure and the leadership we have put in place. This will see us move to functioning with much more focus and delivering a better proposition to customers and partners, while driving true teamwork at a European level and with the rest of the Travelocity and Sabre family globally.”



lastminute.com unveils new booking engine



lastminute.com sees number of bookings more than double as it unveils its new virtual travel agent booking engine, offering a sleeker and easier booking process to find that perfect holiday.



According to the company, the new booking tool, nicknamed ‘Judith’ internally after holiday legend Judith Chalmers, is the most precise and versatile holiday search engine in the market and launches a new era in booking holidays online.



The search process maintains the customer’s selected requirements throughout the whole procedure including the number of rooms required and the party composition giving only relevant results back to the customer. Furthermore, the advanced search provides a weather feature to search for destinations according to their climate, as well as the opportunity to select the attributes of the resort such as a sandy beach, watersports, good shopping or historic sites, the destination as well as the hotel, making the search more tailored and refined.



The results from every single search are based on biased intelligence and relevant historic information, which means that the products delivered are all relevant and appealing to the individual consumer booking the holiday. Judith is also intuitive and can anticipate customers’ next moves. It can give very useful advice on how to refine a search when results are either too high or too low, giving suggestions on which categories to alter to get the best outcome.



Following this major improvement on the site, there is also a wider variety of products available with lastminute.com now offering more holidays for families and people travelling alone as well as themed holidays. Judith also offers more regional departures and forward availability.



John Bevan, Travel Director at lastminute.com said Judith is the result of months of research and planning to make sure that we would create the best holiday search engine around and I think our mission is accomplished. With Judith, we are launching the new generation of online holiday bookings. It is like a virtual online travel agent, extremely clever and it can anticipate customers’ next moves, point them in the right direction to find the perfect and most suitable holiday in terms of type of holiday, price, dates, airport departure, destination and hotel. Last week we have registered record sales as our booking numbers more than doubled. Booking holidays on lastminute.com has never been so easy.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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