Gaines: Helloworld brand implementation “successful”

Gaines: Helloworld brand implementation “successful”
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Helloworld are expecting to reap rewards in Australia’s forecasted “growth in travel”, with an aim to focus on consolidating its position as the “best travel agency group” in the country, 16 months since its brand transformation.

Speaking at the company’s AGM today, Helloworld ceo Elizabeth Gaines said it will focus on growing its presence in the market following the “successful implementation of the Helloworld brand and digital offering” and that it remains focused on consolidating its position “as the best travel agency group in Australia’”.

“The July 2013 launch of Helloworld was powered by the determination to deliver a real alternative to agents, to suppliers and to customers,” Gaines said.

“We have transformed our business and put in place solid foundations on which to transform our future.” Gaines said.

Gaines said it was “still early in the financial year” to predict the outcome of trading conditions for the remainder of FY15, but the Group was in line with its previously advise guidance which reduced EBITDAI between $5 to $10 million representing a 25% drop on the previous year to $40.6 million.

Trading for the four month period ending October 31 have been “in line with expectations,” with TTV up 3% year-on-year for the same period.

Future growth will be driven through “targeted consumer marketing and campaigns aimed at driving increased customer traffic to our network of franchisees and members supported by a strong digital offering,” according to Gaines, who added that “sustained investment” will be made to its marketing activities across TV, metro and regional press, billboards, digital, search engine marketing and social media.

Helloworld reports it is close to 1000 stores – divided as 300 Helloworld branded locations, close to 400 Helloworld brand-carrying Associate locations and 300 Helloworld Affiliate locations. In addition, 440 long-standing Affiliates operating under the Concorde Agency Network, 185 agents in New Zealand and around 100 locations that remain operating under traditional brands, Harvey World Travel, Travelscene, Jetset and Travelworld.

“The focused, consolidated Helloworld network will provide a strong platform for future growth in a multichannel environment,” Gaines said.

Helloworld also announced it has “substantially” completed its store refresh program and 26 locations have been refitted as “Ambassador stores” with new branding, design, layout and furniture displayed to agents at its annual conference in 2013.

“Helloworld has developed a substantial, nationwide visual footprint through both Helloworld Branded and brand-carrying Associate locations. Combined with integrated marketing campaigns and a strong digital component through helloworld.com.au, we offer the ultimate flexibility and convenience to our customers,” Gaines said.

In November, the company launched its digital offering including an “Agent Finder” locator.

Chairman Brett Johnson said Gaines’ appointment as ceo in March following Rob Gurney’s early-departure following an internal review, was “a critical part of the development of the Helloworld transformation strategy” and will result in “material increase in shareholder value over the next few years”.

Helloworld won the 2014 NTIA award as the Best Travel Agency Group (over 100 outlets or more).

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