VisitBritain continues to develop its successful e-commerce strategy with a key appointment. New head of e-commerce and retail Vickie Birnage, who rejoins the organisation from Penguin, will help the national tourism agency drive further productivity from its international network by taking charge of its 18 online VisitBritainDirect.com shops, specialist overseas trade shops and offline retail activities. These rapidly growing e-Commerce and retail activities augment VisitBritain’s overseas presence, enabling consumers to buy value-led products and services before they travel, in local currency and language whilst also offering suppliers extremely effective overseas distribution.
As well as looking to extend the current range of products and services offered to consumers on the shops – including Oyster Cards tube passes; BritRail travel products; and discount passes such as the Great British Heritage Pass and London Pass – Vickie’s role includes the development of further distribution partnerships such as those currently undertaken with P&O, BMI and easyJet.
Vickie reports to director of distribution services Kenny Boyle who says: “With her tremendous e-commerce experience and significant time spent at major organisations in the retail sector, Vickie is an invaluable addition to VisitBritain senior team. Her role is to ensure that we add real value to visitors, while providing industry partners with additional customer benefits and routes to market. Having worked with VisitBritain before, she is extremely knowledgeable about the tourism environment and will be a welcome and familiar face to many in the industry.”
Vickie’s experience includes online and digital roles with publisher Penguin and high street retailer Marks & Spencer, as well as managing international relationships with Amazon. She says: “I’m delighted to be returning to VisitBritain and to be heading up a platform which is clearly so popular with consumers and suppliers alike. We’ve had fantastic sales growth over a number of years and I look forward to continuing and even accelerating this success.”
With public spending under ever tighter scrutiny, VisitBritain’s new four-point strategy gives greater emphasis to developing further Britain-wide tourism platforms and share new media strategies. It aims to deliver efficiencies for all the national tourism organisations through the co-ordination of information and transactional platforms.