A new website offering agents and operators free space for their late deals has been launched by a former personal travel consultant and luxury safari specialist.
The site, thedepartureboard.co.uk, will remain free to agents and operators wishing to post deals but will eventually draw its income from sponsored categories and targeted emails.
It is the brainchild of Paul and Beth Shipway, former Freedom Travel franchisees who later ran a luxury safari business that was sold to Somak in 2012.
“It’s not built purely with operators in mind, we can feature retail agents as well,” he said. The site is in its first month of operation and has around 20 brands signed up. Operators already on the website include Gambia Experience, Sicilian Places, Caribtours and Goldcrest Holidays.
Shipway said the holiday comparisons would become more selective as more content was added. “The idea for the long-term is to filter the offers down. We’re not doing that at the moment because we don’t want an end user to arrive at a dead end.”
Current offers are filtered simply by destination and holiday type.
Shipway said the aim of the site was to reduce “consumer fatigue” so that customers received offers “they were actually interested in”.
He spent three years outside the travel industry developing software for the conveyancing industry before the couple returned with their new venture. “We did not feel a lot had changed,” he said.
The pair felt there was a niche for a website that performed the same role as Teletext had performed in the past. “Everyone went there for bargains, but I don’t feel that kind of place exists now.”
The website is targeting 100,000 unique users by the end of October.
“We will probably hit 35,000 for August, which is our first full month,” he said. An app launch is planned for the Christmas period.