It’s been six months since the Entire Travel Group (ETG) merged with CIT Holidays. Traveltalk spoke to Brad McDonnell, CEO of ETG, to find out if it was a match made in heaven.
How did the merger come about?
I was approached with the opportunity. CIT had a fantastic product range and a great reputation in the industry for longevity and service. Their one missing piece was systems and processes in terms of technology to run the business and they saw me running a business that ticked all those boxes.
From my side it was all about product and growing the business. It was one of those things that just made a lot of sense.
Have you had any teething problems?
I firmly believe if someone walked into this business now they’d struggle to believe that half the people here only arrived six months ago.
It was a really smooth transition because we already knew what we were doing and there was no fear around whether our systems would work. It is basically the same business, but on a larger scale as we have more brands and more teams.
So what makes ETG different from your competitors?
We’ve always been really focused on having specialist teams with expertise about our destinations and trying to do it differently and our own way as a wholesaler.
The trade seems to really appreciate a specialist wholesaler that knows and understands the destination, and has a wide, interesting and different product range. If you can combine good product, service, knowledge and advice, we feel that it is a formula that works and will always work.
Our over-riding principals and goals remain the same. Our Italy team sells Italy, the French team sells France and so on. We have dedicated teams, a brochure and a website per brand.
Why has no-one copied this approach?
I think our business model is quite unique and becoming even more so in the industry. There has been a lot of consolidation of brands over the last year and so.
We’re not trying to be all things to all people – it took us 12 years to have 10 brands but we’re not in a rush to add any more. It’s all about doing it right.
The Maldives, Canada and Switzerland are the latest to join your stable of nine brands.
The Maldives launched last July and we’re starting to get some really good traction on that one. It’s an increasingly popular destination in the Australian market. That brand was actually developed through a request from the trade and we’re getting their support accordingly.
Canada and Alaska came with the merger and to move into the North America space with a specialist division was really exciting. We’re currently experiencing exceptional growth in that division and our first Canada & Alaska Travel Connection brochure will be coming out this month.
Switzerland was another destination that came with the merger and again we’re launching our first Switzerland Travel Connection brochure this month, along with a dedicated website.
Clearly the trade is very important to your business?
It is critical to our success. The strongest thing we can say to the trade is that we’ve taken on the best in the business in our sales team, led by Greg McCallum. We’re also developing a national sales team for the first time.
We’re just trying to provide the best possible team in the industry for our destinations.
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