Travo European Summit: Strategic agility is key to success, says easyJet holiday’s CEO

Travo European Summit: Strategic agility is key to success, says easyJet holiday’s CEO

The pandemic was actually a blessing for the tour operator

Garry Wilson, CEO of easyJet holidays recently spoke about the brand’s quest to become the biggest tour operator in Europe, at the Travolution European Summit.

He said entering the holiday market, the team knew they needed to do it at scale and within a certain period of time to have a chance at being successful. 

As the company approaches its five-year anniversary, its time hasn’t been without its challenges. 

Its infancy saw it face grueling headwinds of the Global pandemic, with two and a half years of that time spent in “hibernation effectively”.

Though the brand had confidence in its initial concept and the opportunity being right, it was its acquired approach to changing strategy that has seen it rise in popularity.

“I think really sticking to those principles were really, really important to us when e launched and then clearly came, and kind of all bets were off because we’re only three months old at that time.

“Building strategic agility within the business was very, very important. When we designed the company and we did all of the SOPs in terms of you know, if this happens this is what we do, if this happens, this is what we do etc.

“Every single scenario that we had written was blown out of the water within the first few months and then it was just more and more things.

“Looking back at it now, I think one of the great things with that is that it gave us a real opportunity to really test resilience and understand actually, we’re not so good at that, we need to invest more in this and think about that. 

“So, when we came out of the pandemic, it gave us a couple of years of kind of live testing all of these assumptions that we had made, to build a much stronger and better business.

“It just gave us that kind of two and a half years to really kind of future proof how the business should look and would look and that was our key to the success I think, because when we came out of the pandemic my god it just flew, and it’s continued going really, really well.”

He said: “What’s important for us is that we built a sustainability scalable business against the assumptions that we made and the strategy is absolutely the right one.

“So, following the pandemic, the first year we made £37 million profit. Then, last year we made £122 million profit, so we’re going to build that out by 35% this year.”

He added: “It’s quite balancing sitting as part of easyJet. It’s not £122 million now we’re gonna grow by 35%, I’m reminded we’re still only taking 4% of the airline seats.

“There’s an enormous opportunity to continue to scale this business at pace. For me and for the team, the focus is on where are the big opportunities, where are the big pockets? 

"And how can we continue to invest in those at pace, but not lose sight of those key components that can really differentiate how we operate and continue to give us that competitive advantage as we scale,” said Wilson.