Ian Coyle, CEO, HolidayTaxis Group
As CEO, Ian Coyle led the sale of HolidayTaxis Group to Hotelbeds Group, which completed in January of this year. At Phocuswright Europe 2019, he will take part in the Executive Roundtable: Brexit - Dead Ahead panel.
In a series of interviews with executives participating at the event in Amsterdam in May, PhocusWire finds out what makes them tick...
What element in the industry do you consider is still the most difficult to measure?
True customer loyalty is still very difficult to measure as the industry is so fragmented and there are so many options and scenarios available to customers. Technology advances are creating greater fragmentation with the advent of new platforms and methods of engagement.
For example, airline X may be able to determine that customer Y frequently travels with them to destination Z, but that in and of itself does not show "loyalty." The data only measures the frequency they are traveling with airline X (and the value of them to airline X, of course) but does not delve further into how many times that customer is traveling to destination Z or that they are traveling to another destination more frequently with another airline.
Of course, the same goes for airport transfers: We know how often a customer travels and their value to us, but that same customer could use ride-hailing services, taxis, public transport or other transportation more often and therefore be viewed as more "loyal" to those solutions.
Frequency is often used to define loyalty, but in many measures still misses the overall potential value of the customer. This matters because businesses then don’t know that customers "value" their experience over another, that they are offering enough, have a strong enough value proposition or actually encouraging advocacy. There is a lost business cost as well as competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Overall, continuity of marketing and service delivery across platforms both pre-, during and post-travel is fundamental to creating loyalty to any brand, but the silver bullet of understanding how truly loyal your customers are remains elusive.
Brighton, United Kingdom
You're explaining the industry to a new employee - complete the sentence: "Beware of the ..."
…people who don’t welcome innovative change.
Who uses your product in ways that you never expected?
We are working with partners to engage with customers who are in transit between flights. Where a long layover between flights exists, the customers are being offered a tour or activity in the city their transit airport sits – HolidayTaxis is fulfilling the transfers to and from the attraction/activity site to ensure that there is no risk to customers flights.
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With the advent of self-connect flying with the likes of EasyJet Worldwide and Kiwi.com, this will be an ever-growing opportunity to monetize travelers not just in-destination but also during their travels.
This also demonstrates how different in-destination services can overlap to provide the customer with a full-service solution, where our available platform/connectivity solutions now overcome previous technology barriers to creating integrated in-destination product offers.
How do you want to be remembered as a leader in your company?
I hope, inspirational, to as many colleagues I have the pleasure to work closely with. But that’s for others to judge, of course.
What I focus on is leading a culture of open, fair business practice, where, I believe, people have the opportunity to shine and develop their travel industry careers. It’s our people that make the real difference in setting us apart from others.
If you weren't in travel, what company would you like to be part of and why?
Nottingham Forest Football Club Limited. The glory days can’t be far away again. Surely! One can dream, eh!!
What travel industry development or brand do you wish you'd thought of first?
Well, that’s an easy one. HolidayTaxis, of course Along with the most talented executive team in the industry, having just led the sale of our business to the Hotelbeds Group, I must admit to it having crossed my mind a couple of times that the HolidayTaxis brand would have been a truly great idea for me to have had first!
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Think of the HolidayTaxis brand first, before anyone else does!
Do you hit the snooze button?
At weekends and on vacation, for sure, but I do have to admit to not being able to tear myself away from that inbox, so well. Whilst I don’t personally subscribe to the Jack Ma 9-9-6 line of thinking, whilst I’m at work, it’s a long but very rewarding shift we put in. During the working week, I’m an early bird. Love a little time first thing each day, just to get straight in my own mind what’s really important that day.
Tell us about your favorite vacation.
Anything that involves a pre-booked transfer to get there!! But really … just love some of those cruise ships around the world. Somewhere different to explore every other day, somewhere to rest in-between. If you didn’t try it, try it!
How do you stay inspired?
Working with the people that I do. Truly. I feel blessed to be able to lead and work with a strong team of super intelligent individuals who understand the power of the team we have built throughout the HolidayTaxis organization.
Now three months into our acquisition by Hotelbeds Group, I can clearly see so many similarities in cultures, especially around the people culture, fostering an environment that allows our people to develop their ideas and careers within the group. It inspires me just coming to work. I want those around me to experience similar.
Executive Roundtable: Brexit - Dead Head
A group of experts discuss new borders and old partnerships, fresh challenges and smart solutions, and practical ways to maneuver around the surrounding legislation.