STA Travel aims high with new products and platforms

Youth travel specialist STA Travel is launching a raft of new initiatives to bolster both its online and offline presence as it seeks to expand its global presence.

sta-travel-store-2013-460
STA TRavel’s revamped flagship store in Victoria, London.

This month it launches new transactional mobile sites to be followed in March by mobile apps for travellers to customise their trip and take advantage of “on-the-spot” deals while journeying.

The group also plans to better align global customer service and sales to make a seamless “omnichannel” experience for customers, no matter where their global location or method of payment.

STA Travel also relaunched its flagship store in Victoria, London yesterday (6 January). The revamped store features a giant video screen to showcase live social media chats alongside deals and destination videos.

The store also includes an “inspiration zone” and a planning zone where staff sit side by side with customers using laptops rather than behind desks. There is also an amphitheatre area where it can host talks and travel events.

Marketing director for Northern Europe and Africa Laurence Bresh says that the aim is to take a “Wagamama’s or Apple store approach” with customers bringing their own ideas and mobile devices to the store to work out their travel plans informally.

The group also plans to introduce new “Flex” products that allow greater flexibility on travel plans, such as Railflex and Hostelflex, alongside its currency card CashFlex and unlimited flight change product Multiflex.

Bresh says the combination of retail outlets and online is essential for its business with people planning longer vacations or round the world trips needing the reassurance of a face-to-face meeting with an expert.

“Bricks and mortar are a crucial part of the mix. A lot of travel companies are still keeping things fairly apart but we want to be transparent [on pricing] across offline and online”

He says that the group’s marketing will always focus on its price competitiveness but will also push its expertise. He added that while print and radio were important channels more budget is switching to digital channels like Spotify and social media.

The Swiss-owned group repositioned last year to widen its appeal beyond its traditional student base to young professionals and its acronym now stands for “Start The Adventure”.

Looking at the challenges Bresh adds: “It’s a very competitive market. People are getting incredibly demanding in terms of wanting a quick response to queries and are incredibly price sensitive. We have to be as price sensitive but also have to offer service, we have to show we can add value by having that high street presence.”

STA Travel has 50 retail outlets in the UK and opened five last year, including its first pop-up shop in Shoreditch, London.

The group operates directly in 17 countries and works with franchisees and licensing partners in a further 73 countries.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here