GETTING STARTED: Ultimate Travel Club offers memberships for discounts

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Ultimate Travel Club

Ultimate Travel Club is a subscription service that removes markups and commissions to deliver the lowest prices to consumers.

For a monthly cost of £ 19, travelers have access to lower prices for hotels, vacation rentals, flights, car rentals, cruises and other leisure options such as theme parks, the cinema and restaurants.

What’s your 30-second pitch to investors?

We allow members to book trips at commercial prices! Subscribers save up to 40% on hotels, vacations, cruises, villas and more. Unlike other travel websites, we remove mark-ups and commissions to ensure members have access to the lowest prices.

We offer 14 free trials and guarantee the best prices. We don’t make money selling travel, it’s subscription fees that pay for our business operations. We estimate that over seven million people in the UK alone could benefit from booking travel in this way.

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Ultimate Travel Club

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Describe both the business and technological aspects of your startup

We have access to the same type of proven booking technology as most travel agents and online booking portals, and we use a long-established and highly regarded fulfillment partner to provide expert phone support to our members. . In this way, we use and support partners who are already part of the industry landscape and who wish to help us revive the industry.

Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.

Our strength is that we are the first UK travel subscription company established to give members access to commercial pricing, and we have already developed and deployed all the technology we need to successfully run the business. .

The main weakness is that, being a completely new concept, it’s a bit of a mess to get across quickly to the public. The opportunity for growth is huge as we all recognize the growing appeal of subscription-based businesses and estimate that over seven million Brits would benefit from booking their travel this way, and we have an offer in style. of adjacent living in our Travel Plus level that could benefit even more people.

Threats come from other players in the industry who might consider implementing a similar offering, but for them it would jeopardize their current business model.

What are the travel issues you are trying to alleviate from a customer and industry perspective?

This brand new, innovative approach, which we launched as travel restrictions are easing, not only ensures consumers always get the best fares, but they will also be able to book the widest range of dates, fares, bedrooms. and available locations.

Unlike traditional agents and membership programs, Ultimate Travel Club is fully independent and able to offer genuine choice in the UK and globally. Their private member status means that subscribers have access to commission-free prices not available on public portals. All backed by a state-of-the-art price guarantee, as well as ATOL and ABTA protection.

So you have the product, now how are you going to get a lot of customers?

This is our biggest challenge. Getting the message across to the UK general public that they could save money by booking travel in this way is essential. We are currently focusing on digital performance channels and partnerships, but we intend to launch some brand marketing in 2022.

By offering potential members a 14-day free trial, we hope we can get them to check our prices before booking elsewhere. They can see for themselves that our savings claims are real and that they will save money – more than the cost of their membership, in fact – and commit to joining then.

Tell us what process you went through to establish a real need for your business and the size of the addressable market.

We know consumers know the benefits of subscription services. So our vision is to create a growing community of like-minded travelers who have the confidence to explore more because they always pay less. Ultimately, encouraging more travelers to return to the hard-hit hospitality industry. Supporting the travel and leisure industry in the UK and globally.

The company was born out of what we saw during the pandemic and the evolution of the world of travel. We know the travel industry has had extremely difficult years and we want to help it recover by making travel more accessible to everyone. Travel is more expensive with less choice in the short term, and there is a huge pent-up demand from people to visit friends and family, get away from it all and explore. We want to support the travel industry, get people to travel again, and basically bring back travel, better.

Ultimate Travel Club members can access savings of up to 40% on 900,000 hotels, vacation packages, cruises, car rentals, villa rentals as well as discounts on restaurants, cinemas, golf courses, outings and more. UK attractions. Subscription models are everywhere (home cooked meals, cosmetics, TV and even cars) and people are already comfortable with them. It’s a proven model that works.

We are the first to use this model to provide access to travel at market prices. And we love the travel industry and know there is such an appetite to explore the world again – which is why it is important for us to help get it back on its feet after such a difficult time. Our research has shown three key demographics that will benefit from membership – Millennium Weekends, prosperous families, and empty nesting rich.

How and when will you make money?

Our overheads are tightly managed, so we expect to make a profit by the end of our first year in business.

What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?

Ultimate Travel Club is founded by Stephen Knight and Brett Norton. Both have a huge passion and love for travel and the company is built on knowing that there is a better way to work for the travel industry.

Stephen Knight, President: A seasoned Marketing Director with over 35 years of experience. He has worked for Fortune Top 500 and FTSE Top 100 companies including The Walt Disney Company as SVP for branding and marketing in the EMEA region. A former advertising agency executive, Stephen founded the world’s first full-service virtual marketing agency, Pimento, which now has a global network of nearly 5,500 people in 200 agencies and consulting firms. He has served on various boards and held several NED positions and has worked in the travel industry with Cruise, Airline and OTA.

Brett Norton, Chief Executive Officer: 20 years of business strategy and marketing experience for UK travel, leisure and hospitality companies Celebrity Cruises, Travelopia and Riviera.

Jae Hopkins, our Marketing Director is an expert in the travel industry, previously Head of Communications at Butlins, Marketing Director of Exodus Travel and Commercial and Marketing Director of Eurotunnel.

What has been the most difficult part of building the business so far?

Launching during the pandemic has been difficult with constantly changing rules. We knew, however, that the world of travel would eventually open up again as people love to explore the world around them. After the 18 months that people have spent, we know there is a pent-up need to travel.

We just published a study on hybrid vacations and how more and more employees will allow people to take sandwich breaks – combining work and travel.

This is one of the main advantages of being a lean startup. We have worked in large companies where the ‘machine’ can be slow to turn and facilitate change, but working with the small group of founding team members that we have at UTC allows us to respond to obstacles that arise. stand in our way.

Having a diversity of experience on the team helps us find creative ways to deal with obstacles together.

Typically, travel industry startups face a pretty tough time to make an impact – so why are you going to be one of the lucky ones?

Other travel clubs select which hotels or villas their members can visit – or only have a small date range. Travel agents (online and offline) have a wide range of offers, but charge commissions that weigh on your vacation budget. And the more you spend, the more they charge, even if it’s just one booking. We offer a full range of vacations at home and abroad, at the best prices (guaranteed) and with ABTA / ATOL protection.

No one else offers a membership to access commercial prices for a wide range of travel, which is why our offering sets us apart. The travel industry is big, so there is room for many different models to suit different customers, but savvy travel enthusiasts will appreciate the innovation our model brings.

In a year, what state do you think your startup will be in?

Our plan is to grow. We have the funds to launch and start generating subscriptions, but once we demonstrate consumer appetite for the model and understand the exact cost of acquisition through different channels, we may well be looking for investments in the phase of. scaling.

What’s your endgame? (IPO, acquisition, growth and maintenance of the private sector, etc.)

We still have to decide on an end of the game. For now, our ambition is to grow, establish our brand and create a strong pool of members who play their part in the development of a successful business. Once there, we will see the rest.

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