Virgin Holidays appoints Claire Cronin to new combined customer and marketing role

Virgin Holidays has hired former Barclaycard marketer Claire Cronin as its customer and marketing director, marking the first step in a five-year growth plan.

Virgin Holidays: Claire Cronin becomes new customer and marketing director
Virgin Holidays: Claire Cronin becomes new customer and marketing director

Cronin replaces interim marketing director Emma Harris, who joined Virgin Holidays in April to plug the gap after the departure of incumbent Andrew Shelton. According to a spokesman, Harris left Virgin Holidays some time ago and it is not clear what her future plans are.

Cronin’s role is a new one and brings customer experience under the umbrella of marketing for the first time.

She joins on 8 December from Barclaycard, where she was group channels and content director, and chief of staff before that. She has prior travel marketing experience with private aviation firm NetJets.

She will report in to managing director Mark Anderson, who highlighted the significance of merging customer experience and marketing for the brand.

Anderson said: "Linking the customer experience with marketing for the first time in this way is a statement of intent for us.

"Claire’s appointment sends a strong signal that the two things must be inextricably integrated for us to achieve our growth plans."

Five-year plan

Cronin joins as Virgin Holidays looks to shake up its offering over the next five years and differentiate from competitors. 

Anderson told TTG Digital in an interview that that might involve shrinking the Virgin Holidays portfolio, boosting luxury offerings, revamping the website and cutting costs.

In her new role, Cronin said she plans to "turbocharge" Virgin Holidays’ digital offering and improve the customer journey as a priority. 

She said: "For a marketeer, Virgin Holidays possesses the perfect combination of incredible brand value, a dynamic product mix, passionate people and engaged customers.

"I’ll be using my experience to harness all of those elements as it begins a new chapter."

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).