Interviews
Interview - Rick Eastes


Interview: Rick, Director, Vroom Vroom Vroom - 3rd February 2006


We investigate what new media is doing for the travel, tourism and lifestyle sector.

1) What's your background. After an I.T. Degree at QUT, I started off in software development for a major GDS. Then, after 5 years of various government and commercial contracts, I wanted something more. So I packed up everything, moved to the UK and worked for minimum wage at a search engine optimisation (SEO) firm in order to learn the tricks of the Google optimisation trade. This helped seal the deal with my current position of Director at VroomVroomVroom in Brisbane.

2) What motivates and inspires you?
I want my work to leave a lasting impression with both my suppliers and my customers. If I don't register a wow factor with customers, then I haven't done good enough. This not only motivates me but keeps me working till the sunrise on too many occasions.

3) How did you break into new media?
Most great opportunities are a collision of being at the right place at the right time. Vroom Vroom Vroom is one of those situations. This created great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Vroom's global expansion.

4) What is Vroom Vroom Vroom all about?
VroomVroomVroom.com.au is all about comparing car hire prices from Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty. We negotiate deals with these car rental companies so that customers can be assured they're getting the best car for the best price.

5) How did you design and model it?
The concept of Vroom Vroom Vroom was developed from the standpoint that everyone wants a deal but not everyone has the time to research the web for this deal. Vroom Vroom Vroom's objective is to save everyone about 1 hour's worth of research time by bringing all of the best deals on global brands together in one place. The brash branding "Vroom Vroom Vroom" allows us to stand out among the myriad of derivatives of the term car hire that everybody else uses for their own sites.

6) How does it complement your other business interests?
Vroom allows me to continue to learn about the many facets of the web: search engine optimisation, customer interfaces, business development, supplier relationships, a great mixed bag of responsibilities that should help me with really anything I could do in the future.

7) Is Vroom Vroom Vroom similar to what WebJet is for the online airfare ticketing industry?
Yes, in a word. But we try to stay focused on car hire. We feel that it is the only way to become the best at what we do.

8) How many hits and unique visitors does the website attract?
This varies during high and low seasons of course. On average, we'd get around 4,000 unique visitors per day who are looking for a rental car.

9) Who are your mentors?
Everyone is! I don't think there's anyone I know whom I haven't yet spoken about how to improve Vroom. Even my hair dresser has provided some great input! The point is, if you ask the right questions, everyone can be a good mentor. In particular though, Peter Thornton (Vroom CEO) based in the UK has a wealth of knowledge about travel and global business. David Hasselhoff for social, entertainment and singing.

10) What do you consider to be the highlights of your career, life, to date?
I have developed some free software called Nukedit which allows users to edit web content and manage their websites real time - this has gone down really well-There is now several thousand users who have developed over 40,000 pages of content using Nukedit. One of my best customers is Vroom Vroom Vroom!

11) What are your current projects?
The real centrepiece in my career has to be the car hire bargain hunter I have developed for Vroom Vroom Vroom which you can now see on the www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au website.

12) What's the most impressive technologies you have come across?
Part of the beauty of the web is that everything is simple. Simplicity in itself can be impressive. Google Earth is pretty amazing.

13) Why is a solid media plan so important?
You can have the greatest website in the world but it will remain useless without customers. "Build it and they will come" has rarely been true with online businesses. Sure, word of mouth works, but you need some mouths to start with!

14) What media outlets have covered your endeavours to date?
We have dabbled here and there with printed media but our core marketing remains online due to its proven success. We're hoping our new PR guy (mediaman.com.au) will be able to kick start successful new mediums of media.

15) Who have been your biggest supporters, and what clients have been able to really take advantage of Vroom Vroom Vroom?
Well, our biggest supporters are our suppliers: Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty and Europcar. They all seem to like the idea of an alternative distribution channel that only compares serious brands (apples to apples). They benefit because they get a larger slice of the bargain hunter market and users of our website benefit because they get bargain priced car hire from reputable brands.

16) Why is Vroom Vroom Vroom such a resource for the travel sector?
At present, there are a number of websites that might offer a great deal on one or two of the travel commodities but not the third (e.g., you might great a great deal on a flight and hotel, but still need to book the car). Sometimes you just want to rent a car and don't need the rest. With people making their own travel arrangements online, a site that just focuses on car hire can be really handy, just in case.

17) What do you do to relax?
Vroom Vroom Vroom touch footy in North Brisbane, chatting to new and interesting people. I also love asking questions, finding out what makes them tick.

18) What's your motto?
It's a survival of the fittest out there. So find out what you're good at and enjoy best, then stick to it.

19) Where will you be in 5 years?
Hopefully running the world's most popular website for comparing discount car hire online.

20) Why do we need to sign up with you now?
Why waste time doing the research that we have already done. Spend the time with your family or taking your dog for a walk. An added bonus is that hire cars which become available due to no-shows and cancellations won't be picked up by other systems. Having a direct interface into each of the global suppliers reservation systems allow our system to find out what's left. This is especially useful during peak seasons when cars are harder to find.

...end.

Editors note: A new media entrepreneur with plently of vroom to watch out for.

Websites

VroomVroomVroon.com.au

Profiles

Vroom Vroom Vroom

Travel and Tourism

Car Hire

Auto Media