In a week of big announcements for Gullivers Sports Travel, Vicky Cheevers (Gullivers’ Brand Manager), takes five to talk to our new MD, Sam Seward.
VC: Welcome to Gullivers! How are you settling in here at Fiddington Manor?
SS: Thank you! I’m loving it - there aren’t many people who can say their office is a 15th century hunting lodge! I’ve had a busy couple of months since starting my handover including our brilliant Burnham-on-Sea minis festival, meeting with our partners like the WRU and England Hockey as well as working closely with our fantastic office team to properly understand every aspect of the business.
VC: Key question - what’s your sport?
SS: I am undoubtedly a rugby man, with cricket a close second. A lifelong prop forward, now migrating what feels like ten thousand miles to the second row. I’m half Welsh, half English - but I’ve played all of my rugby in the London/Southern English leagues and tend to lean towards the red rose come the Six Nations I’m afraid!
VC: What are your plans for Gullivers?
SS: Gullivers has always set the global standard for quality sports travel, for both supporters and those looking to participate. We’re extremely fortunate to have so many incredibly loyal customers, and I want to reward their loyalty with consistently great service, hassle free booking and some unique touches that you’ll only get with us. Simple things done incredibly well.
VC: What can Gullivers' customers look forward to in the near future?
I’m really excited about our status as Official Travel Supplier to the Welsh Rugby Union - we have some fantastic plans for Paris and Rome, and of course enhancing the experience of anyone visiting Cardiff. Our Sri Lanka cricket package for this November’s tour is looking really exciting, as are our ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 packages in Australia & New Zealand. Fans of Formula 1 will know that Gullivers have exploded onto the F1 and wider motorsport scene this season, with market leading Grand Prix weekend packages as well as our partnership with the brand new Formula E format.
VC: Gullivers aren't offering Rugby World Cup packages for 2015, can you explain why?
SS: This was really disappointing for all of us - especially the Operations team here who have been involved in every RWC - including 1991 when last the competition was hosted in England. We spent a great deal of time trying to achieve terms with the RWC's official travel company which would ensure we had the freedom and flexibility to create our own products, set prices we felt were fair and commercial and above all, ensure our customers’ high expectations could be met. This wasn’t possible and we’ll now be focussing our energy on other rugby projects - including our biggest ever Six Nations year and the 40th edition of the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens (as well as enjoying the RWC as fans along with everyone else!).
VC: Any big summer plans?
SS: We’re investing in our systems and resources as well as focussing time on product development and ensuring we have the right mobile/digital presence our customers need. I’m looking forward to the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix in August and September before we throw ourselves into the November international schedule.