Francesco de Marchis has joined challenger travel agency organisation Low Cost Travel Group as CTO following four years as CIO of online retailer Play.com.
Low Cost Travel Groupwas founded by businessman Paul Evans, who de Marchis will report to, in 2004, and is a pure online travel agency. Brands the organisation operates from its Sussex headquarters include Lowcostbeds, a hotel room aggregator to rival Hotels.com and Laterooms.com. Low Cost Travel Group operates in 13 nations, with the UK, Germany and Australia key markets for the Gatwick based organisation. Evans has been at the helm of a series of holiday and leisure firms including First Choice and Saga in his career.
At Play.com, the Jersey registered, Cambridge based online retailer, de Marchis undertook a major re-architecture of the retailer’s technology stack to enable the organisation to create its marketplace strategy, which was its way of differentiating itself from the online giant Amazon.
Play.com operated its own ecommerce and customer relationship management (CRM) systems as they felt it fitted their technology business model. Based in Cambridge de Marchis was heavily involved in recruiting technology talent into the organisation.
Play.com was founded in Jersey in 1998 and did very well initially as a retailer of CDs by exploiting loop-hole in the UK’s taxation law. In September 2011 major Japanese online retail group Ratuken acquired Play.com to be its UK arm and de Marchis was heavily involved in the merger of the two retailers.