Tag Archives: Ego

Leaving a travel giant and joining MyDestination

I am now in my first week at my new role. After 18 [long & hard] months I have left the Thomas Cook Group and joined My Destination Info.

In that time at TCG I have had the pleasure to work with some very talented people and faced some genuinely challenging SEO topics. I was working across 8 EU markets for an established set of brands servicing many niches and mainstream holiday products & services. They included everything from package holidays, cruises, luxury holidays, party holidays through to activities holidays like skiing.

I am most proud of building an in-house SEO team, installing best practices, a genuine knowledge resource and a team spirit to take on any challenge. Taking on >30 websites across the EU in differing stages of maturity, on different platforms, with differing levels of on-site optimisation, and current performance. Working with many internal teams, to understand, plan, forecast and monitor the turn-around performance to achieve aggressive target. And in the background making hundreds of millions just in SEO considering all the challenges, internal and macro-level trading conditions.

There were a number of projects worth mentioning from agency selection process, multiple platform migrations and a very public project of on thomascook.com which was replacing circa 500 landing pages, with a system to produce 17k new landing pages, with a system to maintain, control and workflow content production. Here is an example of page for Turkey holidays. This was a fascinating project as it brought the site up to ‘modern’ standards and was ready to act as the foundations for the groups non-brand SEO strategy: and the bedrock for continuous improvements including MVTs, UI & design.

But after joining that new business unit right at the beginning and making those [very, oh so very] hard yards it was my time to move on. I had been talking with the guys at MyDestination for many months through mutual acquaintances, and then the question was posed about joining the team. They were, are doing many fantastic things. From the business model, that is really scalable, to their locally curated travel guides, virtual tours, video assets, mobile platforms, blogging, social media. The openness and accessibility of the two founders Neil Waller and James Street, and their management team is infectious and being selfish, I wanted in. So, here I am. The challenge I have is to look after SEO, their paid search and social activities.

So, I am expecting exciting and challenging days ahead in a [relatively] small and agile business, that I personally feel is on the edge of greatness.

My new role at MyDestination

My new role at MyDestination

My only Front page – back in 2002

My Revolution Magazine front cover - 2002

My Revolution Magazine front cover - 2002

As an egoistical kind of guy and deeply insecure, whenever I am asked to get involved in the trade press such as NMA, or others I generally agree. Maybe its my deep seated need to be liked :-) or to prove to others I may actually know something. Its definately not because I am photogenic.

Anyway I found these old pictures on a CD-ROM (remember those?) from my only cover shoot ! It actually dates back to July 2002 on a magazine called Revolution. Which is part of Haymarket and their site has closed and is now pointed to BrandRepublic.

If I don’t put them here – they may be lost!

Oh, I was working at Linguaphone, which was/is a language education publisher. There they stupidly let me own their digital channel. So this article was talking about selling on the internet (me part) and the company was launching into online learning via the internet which was properly revolutionary at the time.

Here is the inside spread. If you wanted to read the article I have just found it on their really old archive.

Revolution magazine - inside spread

Revolution magazine - inside spread

Am I interesting?

tnooz logo

tnooz logo

Just walking through my RSS reader and reviewing my alerts. Being an ego-tistical maniac I have alerts on my own name (and strategic others!).

Just seen a piece on tnooz that cites me and few people who I have known for a while and how we have all joined Thomas Cook Group.

It is still strange seeing my name in print.

Nomined for a Travolution 2009 award

As I sat at my table for the Travolution awards 2009 flicking through the programme of events I was suprised to see my name.  After a double take, it was me and I was nominated for the “Rising star of the year” award.  I am not sure what the criteria was/is (still don’t), but nice to be nominated anyway.

So, got a bit excited.  Talked myself out of it, then with all the winning that one of my agencies (BigMouthMedia) did for another one of their clients !! (Where was our nomination by the way?) I got a bit excited and actually thought I could win.

But no……. The winner was Alex Gisbert.  And at least we are in the same stable of brands.  Well done Alex.

Here for my own reminiscing is a screen capture of the nomination.

Travolution Awards 2009

Travolution Awards 2009