Open Destinations has hired travel industry specialist Mike Russell as their new Chief Operating Officer. Russell brings over 15 years of experience within the sector in the areas of leisure travel and travel technology, having led both Vertical Systems and Comtec and held senior roles in a number of travel businesses.
The appointment follows the company’s rapid development and expanding organisation, which now has more than 400 staff spread between the offices in London and Goa. Russell’s role will be broad ranging and will focus on the customer and operations side of the business allowing the existing management team to focus on further growth and a number of strategic acquisitions which are being considered.
‘I am absolutely delighted to join Open Destinations at this exciting stage of their growth,’ Russell said. ‘Kevin and his team are leading the sector in the overseas market. They are a real star in the industry.’
Russell stressed that Open Destinations’ Travel Studio product is well positioned to help the business grow in the coming years. ‘Travel Studio is providing rich functionality that appeals to many first rate tour operators around the world. The customer base ranges from the largest wholesalers and OTA’s to the most successful high-end bespoke tour operators.’
Open Destinations CEO Kevin O’Sullivan is confident that Russell’s wealth of expertise will complement the existing management team to help drive the business forward to achieve its ambitious plans. ‘Mike’s background in finance, technology and travel will be a great addition to our management team,’ said O’Sullivan. ‘His expansive career in the leisure travel sector has given him valuable insight into the challenges that our customers are facing. Mike really understands what it means to operate a travel business in the 21st century.’
Following the company’s successful acquisition of a number of prestigious customers from across the world, Russell will be helping to develop the operational aspects of the business to ensure that they meet the needs of the business as it continues to grow. ‘Excellent delivery is the hallmark of a truly excellent travel technology business,’ said Russell. ‘I will be ensuring that we achieve this as the company grows, so that we continue to receive the current high levels of customer recommendation as we grow in the future.’
Russell insists that he will be bringing a highly customer-centric approach to the business and will be responsible for ensuring that the business has strong relationships with its customers at all levels. ‘Our success depends upon the strength of our customer relationships, and I will be helping Open Destinations to build on those relationships for the long term. The closer we are to our customers, the more we can help them grow their businesses and get the most from our products as they develop.’
Open Destinations has experienced an average of 43% growth in international sales over the past two years and has been ranked in Sunday Times SME Export Track 100 league table for two years running. CEO Kevin O’Sullivan projects that the overseas trend will continue despite Brexit uncertainty and anticipates that the company is on target for continued strong growth over the next few years.