Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is the largest UK-owned airport operator serving around 45 million passengers every year. The airport group dispatches 600,000 tonnes of air freight via its four airports at Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth. MAG also runs a thriving airport car parking business which has seen spectacular growth in part due to a dynamic relationship with Holiday Extras. The strategic partnership has led to growth at every airport in the MAG portfolio and a doubling of revenue at Manchester alone in the last five years.
Six years ago MAG appointed Nolan Hough to drive growth in Car Parks and Ancillaries and he now holds the position of Commercial Director, having overseen a radical change in how parking products are managed and marketed. Nolan’s past experience working for Sennheiser had given him broad commercial experience of working with organisations such as Apple and Amazon across the US, Canada and Latin America.
“It was my first role in the airport business,” says Nolan, “and I had the advantage of being able to provide a fresh perspective including the potential to expand our parking revenue by working with Holiday Extras. Holiday Extras had been a sizable partner for several years before I arrived however the relationship was less than dynamic.”
Nolan recognised Holiday Extras’ potential to provide access to markets that MAG could not reach and had no desire to cultivate directly. He explains: “Holiday Extras is a massive company, a clear industry leader with great technology and infrastructure. By working together collaboratively we changed the relationship with Holiday Extras becoming a partner to MAG, not just a service provider.”
Holiday Extras’ parking business is headed by Sean Hagger, who was similarly ambitious, innovative and energetic; the two found plenty in common and liked each other instantly with trust growing quickly alongside improved communications.
With the huge number of parking products at MAG, capacity planning is a complex science and making the correct judgement on price and availability to ensure best yield can spell huge profits or losses. Nolan comments: “Holiday Extras’ is able to plug into all the markets we need and help us sell at the right price and the right time. Having Holiday Extras’ strength of delivery allowed us to try new approaches and experiment with new opportunities. For instance, putting parking in places it’d never been before, such as unused apron space, as well as making strategic acquisitions.”
He confirms: “Good communications is certainly part of the success formula; Manchester and Holiday Extras are in very frequent dialogue at various levels of the business with around five or six different touch points from strategic level to tactical implementation.”