Former Sunshine.co.uk and holidaywatchdog.com boss joins travel technology giant in newly-created Group Product Manager role
Traveltek Group Ltd has appointed respected industry identity Chris Brown to spearhead its User Experience (UX) transformation strategy.
The former Sunshine.co.uk and holidaywatchdog.com boss comes on board as Group Product Manager. It’s a new role created for Brown as the travel tech specialist looks to harness his extensive OTA and web-based travel review experience to make major enhancements to its entire B2B suite, in particular its iSell and iTour products that are used by a large number of agents and operators across the UK.
Brown has years of practical experience using iSell – the technology system of choice amongst the independent agency community. In his new role, he will work with Traveltek clients to determine how the User Experience can be enriched.
From improving user-friendliness and streamlining supplier integration to introducing new and exciting user-generated content, Brown is looking to make changes that he believes will take travel technology innovation to the next level.
“I am a passionate techie with a great understanding of Traveltek’s products and their intricacies and I’ve come on board to ensure travel agents get the very best out of them,” said Brown.
“There is so much scope to refine the User Experience and to introduce new concepts such as user-generated content that can be leveraged as a unique selling tool – a concept that is yet to be rolled out to the trade on mass by any technology provider.
“I am therefore really excited to join Traveltek as it looks to pioneer a UX strategy that will set the company apart on a global scale.”
Brown boasts extensive travel industry experience that has been well-documented in the trade media. Starting out as a telesales travel agent at Virgin Travelstore in 2000, he was appointed Agency Sales Support Manager at MedHotels.com a year later and then launched independent holiday review website Holidaywatchdog.com in 2003, which was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2008.
He then co-founded Sunshine.co.uk, a large and successful OTA, which quickly established a reputation as a leader in Online Travel Reservations. Brown left the company in 2012, but earlier this year, it was snapped up by beach holidays specialist OnTheBeach for £12 million.
The serial entrepreneur, who famously appeared in the Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall series Secret Millionaire in 2010, has also held several high-level online travel positions including Managing Director of low-cost specialist Hot Holidays Ltd and shareholder and advisor at holidaytruths.co.uk, a leading online travel review community.
Brown boasts enviable SEO and content management experience and before joining Traveltek, was Projects and Operations Manager at Online Travel Group Ltd where he led the company’s restructure and website development.
In his role as Group Product Manager at Traveltek, Brown will complement the work of Dominic Williams, the company’s recently-appointed Creative Services Director, who is responsible for digital and brand development strategy, including data-driven UX design and digital UI (user interface) design.
Both appointments come as Traveltek embarks on its biggest growth phase in its 20-year history, spearheaded by the company’s President and CEO, Kenny Picken, who at the end of last year, secured £5.3 million investment from private equity fund manager YFM to plough into product development and international expansion.
“Chris brings unrivalled OTA and web review experience to Traveltek, which coupled with his knowledge of iSell and understanding of what travel agents need from their travel technology, will bring a brand new dimension to our B2B products,” said Picken.
“We have always had a close working relationship with the trade and with Chris on board, I am confident this collaborative approach will reach new heights. The outcome will be a mindblowing User Experience that upholds Traveltek’s ongoing reputation as an industry pioneer.”