Helloworld are forecasting a bright and bold future beyond the inaugural helloworld Frontliners 2014 Conference in Adelaide.
I caught up with Executive team members Elizabeth Gaines (CEO), Julie Primmer (Head of Branded Network) and David Padman (Head of Associates and Affiliates) at the inaugural helloworld Frontliners 2014 Conference in Adelaide for an update on helloworld’s continued journey into 2015.
In her opening conference address, Elizabeth Gaines highlighted four core elements of technology innovation, product differentiation, brand profile and customer centric training as key building blocks to their continued strategy for success.
“Over the last ten months since we launched we’ve been able to deliver on our promises and provide tools that will only help make our agents life’s easier, more productive and ultimately more profitable”.
Elizabeth Gaines, CEO helloworld
“It’s really about leveraging the network’s strengths as the experts in everywhere they truly are. Since helloworld was first conceptualised we’ve focused on continually going out and asking the network what they need and what they think about what we’re doing. By listening and engaging we’ve been able to build trust and foster a truly collaborative approach that’s created some great ideas” she said.
Gaines also said agents have been both asking for and embracing technology initiatives including the soon to be white labelled online offering that helloworld now operates across helloworld.com.au, and the highly acclaimed mobile app on Apple itunes.
“Online has historically been a difficult word that polarises many bricks and mortar agents industry wide with the opinion that it represents a threat to their business. But we’ve seen a big shift in mindset across the network” she said.
Head of Associates and Affiliates, David Padman has been equally surprised at just how well the network have adopted helloworld’s omni-channel model.
“It’s been really encouraging to see how our agents have seen online complimenting rather than competing with their traditional offline business. Our agents are starting to get more and more customers coming in-store off the back of the agent finder or products they’ve seen on helloworld.com.au. We were a little bit nervous at the start of how online would be received with the network, but it’s all been really positive”.
Developing a robust Local Area Marketing strategy has also been a key tactic in building repeat and referral business. As we wrote earlier in the week, LAM (Local Area Marketing) is often dismissed by marketers as a less sexy approach, but is certainly one that competitor online travel agencies will always struggle to tell, representing a very distinct market advantage for store retailers.
Helloworld have established local cluster groups to focus on their own specific regional catchment areas as well as delivered their own online marketing portal, which enables agents to create and produce their own marketing collateral, affordably and with the minimum amount of fuss. All initiatives that have helloworld believe have given them an edge on their competitors.
“Our agents are as active as ever in their local communities, supporting their local clubs, schools and sporting teams and striving to be the ‘go to’ people for travel in their local areas. Already they’ve become passionate advocates for the brand and that passion is contagious. It’s created a huge sense of pride for everyone in the business”.
Julie Primmer, Head of Branded Network
Almost a year on since the brand launched it certainly feels like helloworld are making real change and beginning to reap the benefits of taking a universal consumer and agent centric approach to their business.
CEO Gaines concluded by saying “We’re getting Shopping Centre owners and prospective franchisees calling us now about opportunities which is a clear sign that we’re heading in the right direction. Our goal of building brand awareness to pass the barbecue test of being a household name is getting closer”.
What do you think of helloworld’s progress to date?
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