With 35 million monthly visits, we find out about one of Europe’s fastest growing, free-to-use, travel search platforms and apps.

HolidayPirates is one of Europe’s fastest growing, free-to-use, travel search platforms and apps, providing users with the best value for money international travel deals. Since its inception in 2012, the company has grown into an entity that can boast 35 million monthly visits (sessions), over 10 million app downloads, and has launched services across ten countries and seven different languages. CEO, David Armstrong, tells us more.

What was the inspiration for the site?

HolidayPirates was originally a blog on which the two founders (both students at the time) shared the tips and deals they discovered during their travels. Naming the blog ‘Urlaubspiraten’, translating to ‘HolidayPirates’ from German, the Co-Founders envisioned themselves as the pirates looking for treasure, trawling the deep ocean of internet travel deals. What started as a hobby turned into a business in 2012, growing into numerous portals operating across ten different countries.

When did you launch?

The English version HolidayPirates.com was launched in 2012, later on we also established an office in early 2015 in London.

What are your greatest challenges?

Like any fast growing company we experienced growth pains. When you reach more than 50/100/150+ employees there are challenges in the workplace that arise and they need to be addressed. Internal communication flows, office space and other country specific needs that come up when you grow exponentially need to be taken into consideration to ensure a motivated and happy employee body which will result in better working relationships and ultimately in company success.

What's your background?

I originally joined HolidayPirates as the COO, in November 2014. Prior to HolidayPirates, I spent several years in high-level management roles within the travel industry, most notably while at tour operator FTI Group, where I played an integral role in the creation of the platform fly.de. I became CEO of HolidayPirates Group in July 2016, where I now lead the overall company strategy. I’m German-Canadian and I studied History and Political Science and eventually earned an MBA later on during my career in tourism.

Who do you admire in business?

Richard Branson.

Please recommend a website and/or app that helps you promote or run your business

Essentially we couldn‘t run our business without the various social media platforms we predominantly use to reach our users.

Who is your favourite travel instagrammer and why?

I really admire the work of Paul Nicklen, Canadian, like me, photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist. He has been working extensively as a photographer for National Geographic, but through his Instagram account he has become an advocate for nature’s conservation, offering incredible close-ups of the otherwise mostly unknown underwater world. Through his lenses he can bring people closer to the creatures that inhabit our planet, highlighting the fragility of the ecosystems that support their existence.

Do you have a favourite business podcast? If so, what and why do you like it?

I like the Phocuswire PundIT show. This podcast gathers experts from across the travel, tourism and hospitality industry to discuss about the digital travel economy and new technologies. It really is a “must-listen” for anybody driving business in the travel industry. Every now and then when Skift publishes a podcast I also like to listen to them.

Do you have a favourite travel podcast?

I sometimes enjoy tuning in to the BBC podcast series The Inquiry. It’s a rather accessible podcast easy to listen to after a long day’s work. It’s not specifically focused on travel but each episode focuses on current issues chosen based on what questions are trending on the news worldwide. It breaks down the issue it tackles in a simple way while offering expert opinions on how these issues might develop. It’s a good way to also keep a pulse on the current trends which are often extremely relevant for the travel industry.

What is the best piece of digital advice you've been given in regards to your showcasing/running your business online?

That‘s a hard one! Not quite sure. You know, if one runs digital businesses as such, it‘s difficult to determine a single piece of advice. It might have been different if I were to run a more traditional business and would have seeked advice from some digital evangelists on how to accomplish the digital transformation.

What is your motto?

Openness and feedback culture! I think this concept is really at the core of a company’s success. Whether it is about management, innovation, decision making or one’ s personal attitude, being open to receive and give feedback in a constructive way is in my opinion one of the highly underestimated components which will have the most significant impact on developing the culture and success of any company.

Where do you see the business going from here?

Focusing on user experience is key. People have no reason to stay with a company continue using a service or brand when their level of expertise dropped or other players become able to provide a better user experience. Therefore, it is vital to always take the perspective of users and keep up to date with all technological developments to make sure you staying ahead of the competition.

Have you put your company forward for an award before? If so, please let us know which one.

We have participated in and won multiple awards across different countries. In the UK we were awarded the Website of the Year Prize for Leisure and Travel in 2016, followed by a prize for the ‘Best Travel Deal/Price Comparison Website’ at the British Travel Awards in 2017 and a Travolution Award in the same year. We are excited to participate in The GWG Website of the Year Awards to share our passion for providing the best value for price offers on the market via our travel platform, always engaging through social media with our users to provide them with the best travel tips and hacks!

September 2019