Comtec’s Powell turns agent with ‘revolutionary’

The man behind the technology that powers hundreds of travel firms in the UK has pledged to revolutionise the world of holiday retailing.

Simon Powell, co-founder of Comtec, which developed the TravelCat agency management system, is poised to return to the industry with a new online travel agency that he claims will pioneer the next generation of travel websites.

Next month will see the launch of a revamped that will soon use technology which Powell described as a “quantum leap” from that used by existing travel retailers. The site will focus on cruise and luxury holidays, but will expand to offer all holiday types.

Powell has been out of the industry limelight for a year since relinquishing his role as chief executive at Comtec. At that time he said he wanted to focus on “his core skills as an entrepreneur”.

He has owned the domain name for more than a decade but has never fully exploited it. Setting out his vision for exclusively to Travel Weekly, he said:

“The distribution model that has prevailed in the first decade of this century is not one that can deliver growth and customer satisfaction in the second decade.

 “A key challenge is that the technologies required to achieve this proposition are a quantum leap away from current core travel technologies.” aims to pioneer a more intelligent form of online search, moving away from conventional filters and combining leading-edge technology with highly trained travel consultants.

Earlier this year, Powell was appointed by Gill’s Cruise Centre, the cruise retailer, to do some consultancy work. He has since brought in two former Gill’s directors to help him deliver his vision.

Mervyn Harris, Gill’s former finance director, and Steve Phillippou, its former managing director, are working with Powell as independent consultants.

They have joined Tony Evans, previously head of, who developed multi-channel concept stores for the Midcounties Co-operative.

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