Speaking exclusively to TTG at the annual Gold Medal Travel 2 Awards at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria, both Hughes (left in picture), who had been with the business three days, and John Bevan (right), who joined as chief executive a month ago, banished any question marks over a merger.
Bevan said: “They are two strong brands and they are absolutely going to stay that way.”
He did however allude to plans to develop more distinction between the operators.
“We are definitely going to accentuate the differences going forward and excite the travel industry with having two strong brands that they can use for different reasons,” said Bevan, giving an example of Travel 2’s strength in the cruise sector.
He added that there would also be a focus on developing the Simply Luxury and Pure Luxury brands.
Looking ahead to 2018, Bevan said the focus would be on delivering a “great year”, by the financial year-end in March. He added that one marker of success by this time next year would include making “some significant changes” to the usability of the front-end of the agent-facing website.
Formerly a director of a number of B2C businesses including lastminute.com, Voyage Prive and Spafinder Wellness, Bevan said he hoped to bring his experience from the “e-commerce world” to the company, saying he was keen to look more closely at the company’s website and how it can be improved for agents.
“There’s a lot of opportunity there. I think of all the tools we have on B2C websites available to help customers and I look at the B2B proposition – it’s not nearly as sophisticated.
“I’m going to treat it purely as the ‘C’ is now agents, and they’re our customers.”