Former Tui Travel UK and Ireland managing director Dermot Blastland is taking a senior role at a leading online travel agency.
He is joining On the Beach as a non-executive director, bringing more than 20 years of travel industry experience to the fast-growing company.
Blastland, former boss of First Choice, was instrumental in the integration of First Choice with the tourism interests of Tui. He left in 2010 after 22 years with the business.
On the Beach chief executive Simon Cooper said: “We are delighted that Dermot will be joining On the Beach. Dermot is an expert in his field and with his knowledge and experience in the industry, I have no doubt that he will be a valuable addition to the board.”
Blastland said: “These are exciting and indeed challenging times for our industry and it is a real honour to be joining such an entrepreneurial, fast-moving business thatis already making waves within our industry.
“Over the past few years, On the Beach led by Simon has experienced rapid growth and recently became the first independent online travel agent to acquire an Atol licence and offer full protection for its customers. I believe the future is bright for the business and I’m confident that I will add value and help it reach its true potential.”
Speaking to travelweekly.co.uk, Blastland said he would be able to draw on his experience of working for a large vertically integrated business and offer advice to On the Beach as it grows in size.
“I know the travel industry and the players and I can see the pressures and come at it from a different perspective. First Choice was one of the early adopters of the web and saw it as an opportunity when others saw it as a problem.
“As On the Beach gets bigger it will begin to bump into other issues and will have to think about its strategy. Competitors want to knock you down as you get more successful.”
Blastland said he would be able to advise the company on management information and its customer service ethos.
He added that he hopes to take on at least one more non-executive role. “I’ve had a few chats and it could be something in private equity,” he added.
He dismissed any prospect of returning to work for one of the big two, following Manny Fontenla-Novoa’s departure as group chief executive of Thomas Cook. “I gather they are looking for a new chairman but my phone’s not rung,” he joked.
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