Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 21/08/00
Author: Page Number: 24
Copyright: Other

A week in the life of Jo Rzymowska

Internet start-up has just launched its Web site. Commercialdirector Jo Rzymowska gives a behind the scenes account.


It was always going to be a challenge to launch a new on-line travel agency by plugging 21st-century technology into 1970s systems in just nine months. But this week, we finally did it – went live.

Today was one of the most nail-biting times in my dot com career. Just when we thought the final testing was complete, Worldspan’s connection to our site went down.

Work went on through the night until Worldspan had identified the problem. Knowing it was a short-term issue, we took the decision to go live as they fixed the link.


Chief executive Lawrence Hunt and I flew up to Edinburgh to join our team of travel consultants to prepare them for launch and brief them on the Worldspan issue.

As an integrated call centre, they can handle customer enquiries and act as a back-up to the on-line system. This would be their first real test – on day one!

The call-centre staff have access to native Worldspan and they were briefed to take all flight details over the phone and call the customer straight back with the flight information required.


During the testing period over the last few weeks and in the midst of preparing for launch, we made several live bookings with each of our tour operator partners. Today we discovered we had one booking on the system which had slipped through the net.

However, with a problem always comes a solution. In this instance, we were able to reward one of the financial consultants who had been working until the early hours for the last few weeks with a holiday for two to Majorca with Unijet.


At 11pm, we flicked the switch to go live and by the end of the next day, we had our first booking – a family holiday to Minorca with First Choice.

Initial hits have been good considering we are not actively driving traffic to the site. We have taken the decision not to heavily push the brand until we have had initial feedback from our customers, travel partners and business partners. If we don’t listen to feedback, we would be going against our basic principles of offering excellent customer service.


We started getting feedback from the trade today.The verdict so far has been that the site is easy to use and colourful and that it was good to see a site freeof advertising and one you can book on.

These comments came together with some constructive criticism such as it would be good to see more images and less text. We agree with this and will address this in the very near future.