Welsh travel technology company Comtec is planning a big push into the US and Canadian markets, having spotted what is sees as a big gap in an even bigger market.
Sales and marketing director Howard Frost told Travolution. “Surprisingly, there is less competition for travel distribution and technology in North America than you might think.’
Comtec’s biggest presence in the US is with vacation.com, a consortium of more than 5000 independent agents owned by Amadeus. Other clients include some of TUI Travel plc’s US-based specialist tour operators.
“We’ve picked up quite a few customers over the past 18 months, and it’s become cost effective for us to open an office to service existing clients and to target new business,” he said.
It has appointed Christine Womble to run its North American operation as general manager and senior vice president. Womble has 20 years’ experience in the US leisure travel market, including a stint with Sabre and most recently with vacation.com/Amadeus. Comtec’s US operations will be based in Alexandria, Virginia.
Frost added that her team will include Comtec employees from the UK, who will work on six-month secondments.
Comtec plans to market its Travelink, TravelConnect and TravelGateway products in North America, offering solutions for tour operators, retail agents and OTAs respectively.
This May, London-based investment firm RJD Partners led an MBO of the business, taking a 51% stake. Frost said: “When a private equity firm invests in a business it looks at the growth opportunities. International expansion was one of them, so we’ve got their backing.”