Cheapflights has made Andrew Shelton its first ever managing director to lead ambitious plans to grow site visitors by 50% by the end of 2017.
Former Virgin Holidays marketing director, Shelton joined Cheapflights as marketing director just nine months ago.
But Hugo Burge, chief executive of parent company Momondo Group, said the promotion was a “natural step up” for Shelton who has “successfully navigated the delicate transition of the Cheapflights business from a legacy brand to metasearch”.
Burge said: “We’ve never had a managing director of Cheapflights before, but this is an investment for the future and a reflection of the confidence the team has in making Cheapflights a global brand.
“This is just the start of a huge global opportunity for Cheapflights and we are extremely excited. We feel like a start-up all over again.”Shelton said his role was to bring the two arms of Cheapflights – the metasearch model and the deals publishing business – closer together.
His aim is to have 500 million users a year by 2017 – a 50% year on year increase on what it has now – and to push out up to 800 targeted deals a week to its customers. It currently sends out about 400 a week.
Shelton said: “By bringing the technologies together on the platform and using all the data we have very cleverly, we have a huge opportunity. “This is where we’re privileged as no-one else can do this. Some users will know the flight they want, others will want a bit more inspiration but by being more aligned we can get more and more accomplished at serving our customers and our advertisers.”
He added: “We continue to work better and better with all our partners, using our data more intelligently to segment our audience, offering better targeted leads and better engagement rates.
“We now work with nearly 100 UK travel trade partners and we very much want them to be part of our future.”
Shelton has promoted sales director Sarah Hanan to commercial director to support his plans. The current marketing function will continue to report directly into him.
“Sarah’s remit is to look after our revenue across all of our markets globally including new revenue streams plus a new, customer service element,” Shelton said.
Hanan, who has been with Cheapflights for 12 years, said: ““We have fantastic relationships with nearly 100 commercial partners in the travel industry, from big names to specialists.
“With our new meta site in the UK, combined with our leading deals publishing platform, we can offer something truly different to them. I’m really looking forward to developing innovative opportunities with them that benefit all our customers.”
Burge said Cheapflights would be launching in new markets and accelerating investment to ensure sustained growth where it is already established.
“Cheapflights is about a powerfully intuitive brand, married to the best technology. Having recently transitioned our UK site to user friendly meta and evolved our highly rated global apps, we have ambitious global plans – and are confident that Andy Shelton is the best person to lead the team to achieve that.”
Shelton added: “We’ve had good success in South Africa, some Asian markets, Australia and more recently, New Zealand. We’re also seeing markets like India just pop up because we’ve got a brand that appeals and we’re getting good repeat rates.”