Lastminute.com is considering setting up a programme to work with the trade along the same lines as how it operates Holiday Autos.
Speaking at World Travel Market, incoming chief executive Ed Kamm, who takes over from Ian McCaig next month, said: “We work with a lot of trade partners but we don’t have a specific programme for agents and it’s something we would like to invest in.
“We have a lot of supply and content, and we work with a number of trade partners online by giving them white-label sites, but we don’t have anything set up offline outside of Holiday Autos. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t do that though. It would not be a stretch to do it.”
He added: “Suppliers don’t really care how we sell their product. They just want us to sell it. It’s a volume game and as long as we bring value to our suppliers we can do it how we like.”
Kamm also revealed lastminute.com would be investing more money in its operations in continental Europe to improve engagement with its brand.
He said the strategy had previously been to spend 60%-70% of funds in the UK, and the rest outside, but now the split would be 50:50 on the UK and the rest of Europe.
“We don’t invest in Italy, Spain, Germany and France on the same levels as we do in the UK so we’re going to address that.
McCaig, whose departure was broken exclusively by travelweekly.co.uk last week, said: “We’re not going to reduce the spend in the UK, we will be increasing our spend in non-UK markets.
“We have spent the last two to three years getting a lot more efficient and so now have the money to invest.”
He added: “The question of whether lastminute.com makes money or not is not an issue. We make money – but we need to make more money.”
Kamm said priorities were to increase brand engagement in Spain and Italy where lastminute.com is known predominantly just as a flights and deals brand. He wants to focus on more DIY business in France where lastminute.com is seen mainly as a package brand, and he wants to concentrate on more advance sales in Germany, where the brands is synonymous with its name, and last-minute deals.
Kamm also revealed lastminute.com was gearing up for massive growth in mobile sales.
McCaig predicted mobile bookings, which currently account for no more than 1% or 2% of total bookings would grow at a faster rate than online sales did 10 years ago.
“If you consider that online business in some markets now accounts for 50% of sales, mobile could easily increase to 20% in three years and to 50% in five years,” he said.
Kamm added the company will be launching a new iphone app for theatres soon, following close on the heels of two just launched – one for hotels and the other for restaurants.
McCaig said it was “highly unlikely” he would return to a job in the travel industry as it would be hard to do anything else after working for a brand such as lastminute.com.
- More from WTM at travelweekly.co.uk/wtm2010
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