COMPANY TO STRENGTHEN MANAGEMENT TEAM FOR ITS SECOND SUCCESSFUL DECADE
London & Boston (USA), 2 May, 2005: Cheapflights Ltd. founded Cheapflights.co.uk, its online travel price comparison site in 1996. Already a global leader in travel price comparison, Cheapflights is now approaching the start of its second profitable decade and intends to strengthen and restructure its senior management team to accelerate its next period of growth
The Company will be recruiting a group Chief Operating Officer in the UK, reporting to the CEO, and a General Manager USA in the USA to lead its Boston based operation and spearhead growth in the huge US market. The US has significant further potential for the Company. Hugo Burge, currently undertaking both roles, will be promoted to Vice-Chairman and Head of International and will continue to report to David Soskin who remains as Chief Executive. The Company has retained the premier provider of senior-level executive search services in London and in New York, Heidrick & Struggles, to recruit these important additions to Cheapflights' executive management team.
Founded by travel editor John Hatt, Cheapflights pioneered the concept of using the power of the internet to provide the ever-increasing number of on-line consumers with a wide choice of excellent travel deals from which they could then select and go direct to the vendor to buy. This in turn provided UK travel operators with a neutral easily accessed and growing online market-place for their products. Cheapflights is now one of the UK's longest lived and profitable dotcoms and has grown to a total of four travel product price search and comparison sites including its successful US site Cheapflights.com, its UK package holiday site Cheapholidaydeals.co.uk and its global accommodation site Cheapaccommodation.com.
Having created and proved the business model, the founder sold Cheapflights in early 2000 to the current management under CEO David Soskin and COO Hugo Burge. They immediately revolutionised its remuneration model and pioneered pay-per-click with Cheapflights' advertising partners. The company has since continued to grow profitably and is now the leading independent UK travel price search and comparison site and a top twenty US 'travel agencies' online site according to Hitwise . Statistics released at the recent New York Travelcom conference indicate that Cheapflights is currently the leading global travel price comparison portal with four million unique users per month.
Cheapflights has a proven, profitable and scaleable business model that, without any external funding, has seen it grow from 70 travel 'advertising partners' and traffic of 300,000 unique users a month in early 2000, to currently over 900 'partners' worldwide and a combined monthly traffic of 4 million users, one million of which are US users which were rapidly achieved in just under two years. Led by David Soskin and Hugo Burge, staff numbers have grown modestly to a team of 50, many of whom are highly experienced in travel, technology or both. In contrast, under their guidance, turnover has increased considerably by 20-fold (72.5% pa cumulatively) since the beginning of 2000, with commensurate growing profits and cash in the bank.
David Soskin, Cheapflights' CEO commented:
"Cheapflights has always undertaken a prudent approach to building its business. Our solid growth has been through investment in people and technology to provide the best possible user online experience and content. This has been funded from profits without resorting at all to external funding. With the prospect of our second decade drawing closer, we have the resources to put in place the management tools to support our planned expansion of the business. We have in prospect further significant improvements to our websites and the further growth of our successful business in the vast US travel market. With our scaleable and proven business model, we also need to address the potential of the European and Asian markets and Hugo will now be able to focus on these important growth areas supported by the new appointees."
Commenting, Heidrick & Struggles London partner Peter Breen added:
"Cheapflights is an excellent business, with a very strong growth trajectory ahead of it. Exactly the right sort of profile business to attract executives who are tired of the "regular corporate treadmill" and want to join a company where their impact can be readily measured, whilst bringing the right sort of experience to help Cheapflights through the next phase of its growth."
John Barrington-Carver, Corporate PR Tel: 07831 655 630
Heidrick & Struggles
Peter Breen, Partner Tel: 0207 075 4000
Notes to Editors:
Founded in 1996 and profitable since launch, Cheapflights.co.uk pioneered the travel price comparison model in the UK
Each day, on its four sister sites, Cheapflights displays over one million constantly updated prices on flights, holidays, short breaks and accommodation, from over 900 travel partners worldwide. This makes Cheapflights the most comprehensive directory of travel deals available and a natural starting point for travel, holidays or accommodation.
Leading online measurement company Hitwise describes Cheapflights.co.uk as ‘the UK’s favourite travel price comparison site’; and the Company's unique user numbers, including the US, support this, reaching 4,000,000 unique users in January 2005 (source: ABCe and Company Logfiles).
The company estimates that it will generate travel product sales of over £800 million for its more than 700 UK partners in 2005. And these advertisers read like a Who’s Who of the travel world - ranging from British Airways, Thomson and Lastminute.com to specialist operators like Barwell Travel , Llama Travel and Iglu.com.
Additionally, Cheapflights is one of the few British Internet companies to successfully establish an operation in the USA with Cheapflights.com. Launched in May 2003, it is already in the top 20 US travel sites (source: Hitwise USA, Travel Agencies Category).
Heidrick & Struggles
Heidrick & Struggles provides exceptional service and expertise to deliver effective leadership solutions for clients. They are the world's premier provider of senior-level executive search and leadership consulting services, including talent management, board building, executive on-boarding and M&A effectiveness.
For more than 50 years, Heidrick & Struggles have focused on quality service and built strong leadership teams through our relationships with clients and individuals worldwide. Today, Heidrick & Struggles leadership experts operate from principal business centres in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
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