A Chester-based digital marketing company has invested £180k including a £50k loan from business funding provider MSIF to develop its own app and expand its franchise network.
Perfect Getaways Limited t/a Out There is a digital marketing company predominantly aimed at customers in the retail, lifestyle and leisure sectors.
The company offers a website, email marketing platform and mobile application to promote businesses to locals, tourists and visitors.
Out There is also developing an app which will enable customers to send out instant offer notifications, run loyalty schemes and real time promotions.
Clients including Crocky Trail Chester, Blue Planet Aquarium and Eton Golf Club pay an annual subscription fee which gives them access to all Out There’s services.
Out There, which is based in Chester, has been set up by husband and wife team David and Nicola Palmer.
MSIF provided a £50k loan through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) as part of a £180k package which will be used to expand the business and develop the new app.
Director Nicola Palmer said: “The Perfect Getaways business was set up in 2007 originally as a holiday rental company which we grew from a back bedroom business to one of the UK’s leading villa rental companies with over 7000 holiday homes advertised."
“We decided to change the main core of the business to develop My Travel Pal – an app which promoted local businesses to tourists. The villa rental side was sold to a competitor and we began trading under the My Travel Pal name which later became Out There."
“Out There has now got 21 franchises across the UK and we expect to grow this to 45 during the next 12 months."
“We only charge our customers an annual subscription fee rather than taking a commission per sale like our competitors."
“The app will launch in the New Year. The technology in the app will allow businesses to send out instant notifications to consumers who have downloaded the app. It will help bring customers directly through the door by showing offers and promotions that are newly available and don’t run for long periods."
“For example, this could be a restaurant that is having a particularly quiet day that wants to offer a discount over a couple of hours to try to attract trade. They will also be able to run loyalty schemes through the app which means no more giving out cards and stamping them. This is a great benefit to both businesses and consumers."
“MSIF were a great support. As well providing their own funding they also helped get a bank on board to provide additional investment.”
MSIF investment manager Andy Jones said “Unlike other alternatives to this type of offering, subscribing businesses remain fully in control of their offers to consumers. There is no forcing down of price or heavy discounts and no payments on profits."
“Out There currently has around 600 clients across the UK and this number continues to grow as new franchises open in other areas."
“It’s a fantastic business model and we’re very pleased to be supporting Out There through this period of rapid growth.”
Out There employs 11 staff at its Chester base.
The RGF is provided through Responsible Finance. It provided loans to micro, small, medium and social enterprises across England through the community finance sector. £30million of funding is provided by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, matched with a further £30 million by the Co-operative Bank and Unity Trust Bank. This fund is now fully invested.