The 41-year-old Charles Seaford is the man behind Wherenow.co.uk -
the internet travel company that aims to offer tailor-made holidays
online and which has unveiled its launch advertising through Mitchell
Patterson Grime Mitchell.
But what could possibly persuade anyone to visit Wherenow.co.uk, when
travel sites on the web are already too numerous to mention?
’Sites like Lastminute.com are a way of off-loading the product to
consumers very quickly but it’s not particularly revolutionary. We will
give consumers information that they can use to make it easier to book
the holiday that they want,’ Seaford says. ’I believe that
Wherenow.co.uk will change the way people buy their holidays because it
will put more power into the hands of the consumer.’
The mammoth task for Mitchell Patterson will be devising and sustaining
a campaign that will not only grab consumer attention but tell us what
we need to know when so many dotcom campaigns are being criticised for
their inability to communicate what the website offers.
’Like everyone else, I’m already bored of all the dotcom advertising,’
Seaford says, ’and I’m sure I’ll only become more so. We’ve only seen
The agency’s national press and poster campaign launches the company
with the promise that ’now you can find your perfect holiday now’. A TV
campaign will follow later next year.
This is how it works. People log on to the site, which Seaford promises
is a painless experience in itself. ’I’m very against registration,’ he
says. ’You don’t have to spend 20 minutes at the beginning inputting all
your personal data only to forget what you password is and start again.
And you won’t be asked for your credit card details until you decide to
Consumers are then asked about 20 questions on topics such as their
favoured destinations, flight times, preferred resorts and
accommodation. You then sit back and let the search engine do its stuff
- no wading through brochures and no time wasted queuing at the travel
’We are the only site that has a database of places you can search to
find the right thing,’ Seaford says, ’but there is no point having
access to this data if it’s not available when you come to book - so the
site is updated every evening.’
Seaford is also planning to tap into the resources of one of the major
high street travel companies. So can anyone visiting the site expect to
be flogged that particular retailer’s holidays?
’I can see how that could be misinterpreted,’ Seaford says, ’but their
co-operation, which is by no means on an exclusive basis, is more to do
with the technology.’
Seaford has spent enough time in publishing and marketing to know a good
deal when he sees one.
After nearly seven years at Wolff Olins as an equity analyst, he
launched Prospect magazine - where he remains a non-executive director -
in 1995 and once he tried to buy The New Statesman.