The Irish subsidiary of pan-European online travel firm ebookers PLC is to expand with the creation of 20 new jobs in a new office management project team and European training and business development centre in Dublin.
Ebookers Ireland’s online travel agency business has grown over 300pc year-on-year since it was established as the first online Irish travel agency in July 2000 and the company anticipates revenues of €7m this year. Over 50pc of the company’s business comes from companies booking for themselves online and over 30,000 customers subscribe to the company’s fortnightly ezine.
According to Rose Kervick (pictured), ebooker Ireland’s managing director and assistant UK managing director, because the UK is the largest and most established company in the ebookers group it takes up most of the company’s resources and therefore Dublin was chosen for the new roles. “We are establishing Dublin as a hub to accelerate and facilitate the growth of the European companies. This part of it is really to offer a range of services to our other European markets,” she says.
These will involve a contact centre for both the UK and French markets, a project management implementation team for new mid-office IT systems throughout Europe and a European training and business development centre in Dublin to establish best practice throughout the European subsidiaries.
So far 10 of the new positions have been filled, bringing employment at ebookers Ireland to 70 people.
Kervick adds that the expansion will see the centralisation of ebookers’ online marketing and website design in Dublin. “All the sites are currently undergoing regular changes as a result of the Dublin team’s input and co-ordination. There is continued local ownership of product and content, but through centralised co-ordination we avoid duplication and introduce consistency of results. One of the reasons this team was established in Dublin is because our local team had made changes to the Irish website that improved the ability of customers to book over the web. Dublin is now driving similar changes throughout the European companies,” she explains.
The Dublin design team will draw on the software development expertise of ebookers’ 330-strong support centre in India. “We are also planning to carry out joint marketing with India to offer a range of complementary web services at a low cost,” Kervick adds.
“Over 50pc of all our sales come from customers booking online. In Ireland and Finland right now, holidays are the number one online purchase, while booking travel online is the highest among 25-40 year-olds. We are also finding increased custom from business people whose travel budgets have been reduced as a result of the current tough economic conditions,” Kervick concludes.
By John Kennedy