Holiday Pirates says it is hoping to build on a successful 2017 in the UK market to forge more partnerships with leading holiday brands.
Last year, when the German firm established a base in London, it managed to double traffic and revenues generated in the UK, according to David Armstrong, chief operating officer.
Deals publisher Holiday Pirates has built its business primarily through social and has established itself in the top ten travel brands in the UK according to Hitwise.
It has established a white label partnership with fast-growing OTA Love Holidays to provide a booking platform and partners with KAYAK for flight and hotel search having switched from Holiday Hypermarket.
Armstrong said: “We had a tremendous year in 2017. That was the plan when we opened an office and hired staff here that connected us with the industry.
“Next steps here are to really intensify partnerships with the larger brands. We have a lot of partnerships with important tour operators and travel brands and we’re looking for new partners.”
Armstrong said as a result of the partnerships it has developed Holiday Pirates now had a much broader range of deals and product to serve the UK consumer.
He said although the UK and German markets are very similar in terms of consumers, in the UK the big challenge has been integrating technology.
“There is no real plug and play solution here in the UK,” he said. “In Germany you just hook up Traveltainment and you have the entire market.”
Holiday Pirates has a slightly younger audience in the UK than in Germany, said Armstrong, who put this down to the fact that brand is better established in its native Germany.
And he said Brexit has had no impact on demand. “Even though the value of the pound dropped heavily and everyone was very concerned about that, actually it had no effect on the travel sector.
“People just do not want to stay at home and not travel.”
Although Facebook, Holiday Pirates’ main channel, has recently changed its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family, Armstrong says the firm has not seen an impact.
“Facebook recognises that it needs to show its users relevant content. As long as you publish things that people like and share it must be relevant to Facebook.
“Whatever changes they make we will just have to adapt. We will mitigate the risk with other channels but we are not giving up on Facebook as a channel.”
Holiday Pirates is investing heavily in Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger and now has over one million subscribers on the latter and this is “growing like crazy” said Armstrong.
He said these subscribers are much more valuable than email subscribers because they are engaged with personally and do not want to miss out on any deals.
Holiday Pirates is to turn its sights on cracking the US, a market it entered two years ago and where it now has a team of 17 based in Boston.
Armstrong said he will personally focus on the US. “It’s a huge market for us and strategically important,” he said.
Currently Holiday Pirates converts 20% of its traffic on its own site and 80% is forwarded to partner sites.
Armstrong said the firm intends to turn that statistic on its head with the launch of a “secret super product” which he said will be an “enhancement and departure” from what it does today.
The product is being built and is likely to be tested in some of Holiday Pirates smaller markets first before wider roll out, revealed Armstrong.