Just Started – Brett Norton: Ultimate Travel Club

Post-Covid, everyone’s thinking about a holiday. We speak to Brett Norton, whose startup is all about helping consumers book the best value travel.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Name of founder: Brett Norton
Date launched: 30 September 2021
Number of employees: 7

What does your business do?

Ultimate Travel Club is an exciting new start up that aims to bring back travel better by giving members access to prices usually only available to the trade. By using a subscription service model, Ultimate Travel Club is delighted to be part of the re-birth of the travel and lifestyle industry, supporting suppliers and the infrastructure already in place. The model cuts out the commission and hidden charges, guaranteeing the best possible prices. Giving access to savings of up to 40% at an amazing range of hotels, holiday rentals, flights, car hire, cruises and raft of leisure options, including restaurants, theme parks, golf, cinema and theatres. All at the very best possible price.

This brand-new innovative approach, launching just as the travel restrictions are easing, not only ensures consumers are always guaranteed to get the best rates, but they will also be able to book the widest range of dates, fares, rooms and locations available. Unlike traditional agents and membership schemes, Ultimate Travel Club is entirely independent and able to offer genuine choice in the UK and worldwide. Their private members status means subscribers get access to trade prices not available on public facing portals. All backed by an industry-leading price guarantee and ATOL protection.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Ultimate Travel Club is the brainchild of a team of industry experts, who saw the opportunity to help travel come back in a smarter way following the challenges of the pandemic. The team at Ultimate Travel Club know that consumers are savvy to the benefits of subscription-based services therefore their vision is to create a growing community of like-minded travellers who have the confidence to explore more because they are always paying less. Ultimately encouraging more travellers back into the hard-hit hospitality sector. Supporting the travel and leisure sector in the UK and worldwide.

How did you know there was a market for it?

The company was born as a result of what we saw during the pandemic and the changing world of travel. We know the travel industry has had an extremely tough few years and we want to help it recover by making travel more accessible to everyone. Travel is likely to be more expensive with less choice in the short term and there is a huge pent-up demand for people wanting to escape and explore. We want to help get people travelling again and essentially bring back travel, better. Members of Ultimate Travel Club can have access to up to 40% discount at over 900,000 hotels. Subscription models are everywhere (meals to cook at home, gin, make-up, loo rolls and other everyday items) and people are comfortable with them. It’s a tried and tested model which works. It’s the model of charging a subscription fee that allows us to provide travel at trade prices. And we love the travel industry, and know there is such an appetite for exploring the world once again – that’s why it is important to us to be part of getting it back on its feet again, after such a difficult time.

What were you doing before launching your business?

Stephen is the Founder of Pimento – a dedicated marketing agency network where we provide clients with access to 5,500 marketing professionals in 200 agencies and consultancies. We tap into an unparalleled network of specialists, to ensure the right experience and talent is tackling brands’ challenges at the right time. Brett has spent the last 12 years running a consultancy business providing strategic advice for travel, leisure and hospitality businesses.

Have you always dreamed of starting a business?

I’m lucky enough to have been involved in quite a few start-ups – some funded by larger businesses, and some as a consultant to entrepreneurs. Ultimate Travel Club is the first business I have set up from scratch based entirely on an idea that I had, without the backing of a big corporate. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been exciting – and a bit scary – to see it becoming a reality.

How did you finance your business?

Before launch, we launched a crowd-funding campaign inviting investors to join our 500 Club so they felt part of the development of the business. We raised a significant amount of money which helped with tech development ensuring that at launch we were offering the best consumer experience. What we do is driven by the members, so we needed to recruit a fan club of engaged and interested people who were willing to get involved and provide feedback. In return we have given them a heavily discounted and unique membership and a broad range of exclusive benefits including the opportunity to invest, as well as attend special events.

Explain your business model and how you make money.

Ultimate Travel Club is a brand-new way for people to book travel at trade prices – giving consumers more choice and money saving options. As restrictions are lifting and holiday bookings surge, the British public are excited to travel, explore and enjoy new experiences again. For a monthly cost of £19 a month, consumers can get mark-up free prices offering savings of up to 40% on a huge range of travel, leisure and lifestyle options – from budget to luxury – at home and abroad. Members of Ultimate Travel Club will have access to the widest range of hotels, holiday rentals, flights, car hire, cruises and raft of leisure options, including restaurants, theme parks, golf, cinema and theatres. Each month members receive £10 of Travel Credit to be put towards future trips. Ultimate Travel Club is proud to be working with leading partners from across the current travel industry landscape including Priority Pass, Vibe, JTA, Open Fairways and Gourmet Society, and looks forward to welcoming further partners – particularly those who could benefit from access to our closed user group of savvy travel members – as our business launch gathers momentum.

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Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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