Cheapflights MD Andrew Shelton says the meta-search site will ramp up its Australian marketing spend with the goal of increasing local revenue by 65% over the next two years.

Andy Shelton_MD Cheapflights

Andy Shelton

Shelton says Cheapflights aims to grow its app and site visits by Australian and New Zealanders from 8m in 2015 to 11m this year.

Its global goal is to have 500m users by the end of 2017.

“We’ve seen the Australian site grow massively in the last 12 months,” he said, adding that Sydney is now its #2 city behind London.

He said in 2015 Cheapflights – which is a lead generator for OTAs and airlines – generated local sales to the value of AS$350m.

In addition to airfares it also sells hotels and plans to introduce hire cars in two months.

Originally a deals publisher, Cheapflights, which is based in the UK, become part of the Momondo Group in 2012 and transitioned to meta-search two years ago.

Deals publishing is still an important part if its business with 10m newsletter subscribers, 500,000 in Australia.

Looking ahead, he said “we’ll invest in media send increase our ad spend” with more of a branding focus though the use of bill boards and potentially TV.

“We’ve done it in other markets and I wouldn’t rule that out.”

The aim with brand marketing would be “getting on the right side of cheap,” he said.

“Repeat rates in Australia are really high at 45%, for me that is the most important thing.”

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