First Choice rejig results in cross-brand CRM division

First Choice is creating its first customer relationship marketing (CRM) department in order to make the tour operator more customer-focused.

The move was implemented by First Choice group marketing director Mike Ryan, who joined the company a year ago from Thorn EMI.

Glenda Lamont, formerly director of customer services at the group’s airline Air 2000, will head the new department.

The department will work across all First Choice brands, which collectively have a &£40m marketing budget, including Sovereign Holidays and Travel Choice, the company’s retail division. The combined data pool will be used in direct marketing and product development and Ryan says the group marketing budget will remain the same.

Ryan claims that the CRM department will mean customers will be better looked after and that there could be some benefits to regular First Choice users. But he has ruled out using the department for the creation of a loyalty scheme.

Ryan says: “When I started, they [the different First Choice brands] all worked independently, and so those working on one brand didn’t know what those on other brands were doing. It was confusing for customers. The new department will help us to focus on helping customers.”

Ryan is overhauling the brands within the organisation. First Choice’s premium brand Sovereign and brand Hayes & Jarvis are undergoing a review. Ryan says that advertising agencies are not part of this review.

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