Holiday comparison website Travel.co.uk, which we covered when it launched earlier this year, seems to have fallen foul of the current economic downturn, and has been forced to scale back its development.
How the website will continue is uncertain, as two key staff; Head of Marketing Vicky Smith and Head of Customer Experience Mike Ramsden, are leaving the company shortly, while MD Ray Mason will be stepping down in the New Year.
When I talked to Vicky Smith at the time of the site’s launch early this year, she told me that Travel.co.uk had a team of just three staff, the ones who are stepping down, so it seems that James Mercer, who joined as CTO since then is left holding the reins, though Vicky couldn't tell me about the shareholders' future plans for the site.
According to MD Ray Mason:"The timing of the downturn in the economy and the travel sector in particular could perhaps have been better for us launching a new online travel business. However, even though it is disappointing that we have not been able to implement all of our plans for the site at this time, in designing and building the current travel.co.uk website we have introduced many innovative search and comparison features which had not been seen before on travel websites. “
“I am pleased to confirm that Travel.co.uk will continue to delight
customers but it will now have just one fulfillment agent to provide
consistency in delivering customer service.”
I was impressed with Travel.co.uk when I reviewed the site in July; it provides a good range of holidays and an impressive user experience. Vicky told me today that both visitor numbers to the site and bookings through partner travel agents had been growing steadily since launch, so it is a shame that the economic downturn has had this effect.