AN EAST Kilbride company that provides booking technology to travel and leisure businesses around the world is pressing ahead with an international growth plan after a delay of 18 months.

Traveltek had planned to launch eight offices within two years after receiving a £5.3 million cash injection from private equity house YFM Equity Partners in October 2016.

However, despite the firm opening in Singapore and Hong Kong and expanding its presence in India and Australia since then, Traveltek chief executive Kenny Picken admitted that the business is “a bit behind where we wanted to be”.

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“The plan hasn’t changed dramatically – if anything we’re just a little bit behind the schedule we had outlined,” he said.

“At the point of receiving the investment we had opened an office in Dubai and already had offices in Derbyshire, Sydney and Miami.

“We were going to open in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo but as we looked we realised that Sao Paulo was untenable because of employment laws.

“We have opened in Singapore and Hong Kong, our small office in Hyderabad has expanded and moved to Cyberabad and we have extended in Australia.”

With the firm now looking at Chile or Columbia for its South American launch in addition to targeting a presence in Germany in the near future, Mr Picken said it had adopted a new approach that would see it focusing on regions rather than individual countries for future growth.

To drive this, the firm has brought on board a team of three senior vice-presidents of sales to build regional teams in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The former vice-president of international sales at Norwegian Cruise Line, Francis Riley, has already taken over the Americas role and will be based in Miami, while Paul Millan has been promoted into the Asia Pacific role. The EMEA head will join the firm in August.

Meanwhile, the firm’s existing global sales director Peter Whittle has decided to leave the company.

“The structure of the team has changed,” Mr Picken said. “Peter was head of the whole team but it’s now been split into three.

“Peter had been with me for 12 years and I’m sad to be losing him but when you’re creating a global sales team they need to be very closely managed and it was impossible for him to have 24-hour reach.”

The main focus of the teams will be to sell Traveltek’s technology to a wider range of customers operating in the travel sector, but the aim is also to have project managers on the ground to help configure platforms for clients’ individual needs.

While the firm had previously been targeting turnover of £22 million by this year, the delay in putting in place its growth plans means it now expects to deliver turnover of $17m (£12.7m) by the end of next year.

For the year to December 2016 the firm posted turnover of £4.6m, with the figure rising to £5.7m last year. It expects that to grow by almost 50 per cent to £8.4m this year, when it also expects to break even after making a loss of £400,000 last year.

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“We haven’t quite got the momentum we were looking for but we’re really set now to accelerate it,” Mr Picken said.

Traveltek specialises in providing the technology that allows customers of travel agents and cruise operators to book full holiday packages.

The company’s clients include Hay’s Travel, Trailfinders, Co-operative Travel, the Flight Centre, Emirates, Barrhead Travel, and Imagine Cruising.

The firm, which was founded by Mr Picken in 2005, currently employs 155 people across all its offices, with the figure rising from 91 prior to the investment from YFM Equity Partners .

At 120 the majority of its employees are based in the UK, with 100 of those working out of its headquarters in East Kilbride, where it recently took on extra office space.