Going Places has jumped into bed with Blind Date. Harriet Marsh takes a
look at the happy couple
Going Places is in a matchmaking mood - not to find you the man or woman
of your dreams but the perfect holiday.
Last week, Going Places was revealed as the successful suitor for the
sponsorship of ITV game show Blind Date. The 18-month sponsorship deal
will kick off on December 28 and will form the basis for Going Places’
new positioning - as the company that will pair you up with your perfect
The new strategy comes a year after former Thomas Cook marketer Tony
Bennett took over as managing director of Going Places and brought in
Francesca Ecsery-Merrens as marketing director.
‘It is Going Places’ first distinct marketing strategy,’ said Bennett.
‘The firm had focused on increasing outlets and on pricing rather than a
A charismatic leader, Bennett is a hands-on manager who reportedly turns
in virtuoso performances for the shop managers and has inspired
‘The new strategy is going down very well with shop staff,’ says a
source. ‘Put Cilla Black and Tony Bennett together and you have one
Staff motivation and commitment will be vital to the success of the new
marketing strategy that ultimately depends on the service provided at
the point of sale.
The new strategy comes three years after the Airtours group launched
Going Places. The brand was developed after Airtours bought Pickfords in
September 1992 and the retail division of Hogg Robinson in July 1993.
Since then the company has grown from 550 shops to 715 to date.
The Blind Date deal is seen as the precursor to the introduction of
more sophisticated marketing techniques at the travel agent. The firm is
believed to be developing a sophisticated customer database. It is also
revising its agency relationships and has taken on customer-loyalty
specialist Black Cat to work alongside ad agency CDP.
Last year, the company spent pounds 5.8m on advertising (Register-MEAL
in the year to September).
Bennett admits that budgets will be increased to support developments
around the sponsorship.
‘We don’t see this as transferring money from one sort of activity to
another,’ he says. ‘We see this as an important stage in the evolution
of Going Places.’