From humble beginnings as a tour operator systems provider, 30 years later Chauntry has grown into a global business supplying Parkspace, their parking software and technology around the world. We spoke to managing director Theresa Hughes about Chauntry’s journey through the global pandemic and the business’s timely rebrand.
Q: Tell us about your journey through 2020 and 2021 to now:
A: Chauntry operates around the globe and as such we saw varying impacts of the pandemic in different areas around the world through 2020. The majority of our parking systems are situated in airports and off-airport car parks, so as travel bans came into force we naturally saw a severe drop in bookings. Fortunately our spread of clients has lessened the impact as with some parts of the world already back to 70% of pre COVID booking levels. We are also seeing a clear indication that customers are preferring a “contactless” experience. This means more people are prebooking online in advance rather than using public transport or taxis. This has resulted in what we call in the industry a modal shift. These are all very positive signs for the future of prebooking.
As a business we have also found that during the past year, many airports and authorities have taken the opportunity to strengthen their service offering. We have signed new clients within the past year, worked on many proposals and bid documents, conducted trials and so on – all in readiness for when the travel market bounces back.
Q: What do the next 12 months look like for your business?
Within the travel industry (and generally I think) there is a huge focus on being prepared when the market returns. For the travel sector in particular, there is a huge emphasis on ‘when’ not ‘if’. People will want and need to travel again so we are focussing our energies on when that begins to happen.
Everyone connected with travel is having to innovate. This includes up-selling and cross-selling ancillary products to their customers in ways they never have before. So in the next 12 months I expect to see a significant increase in the number of airports we serve, particularly in the North American market.
Q: What role has your brand identity played during the pandemic?
A: We were so fortunate that we completed a total rebrand in 2019 with Oak Creative. The timing couldn’t have been better, especially because the rebrand coincided with the launch of a new Parkspace system. Both the rebrand and the new system afforded us great attention in our marketplace and with our customers, just before the onset of the pandemic. The combination of 30 years in business, a timely renewed brand image (and new product!) meant our identity in 2020 was very strong indeed and led to a steady stream of new business enquiries.
Oak Creative helped us significantly to modernise what was a very traditional and serious brand image, as was the protocol for businesses in our sector. We had been considering a rebrand for a long time, but had no internal expertise to help us navigate such a task. Oak quickly knew exactly how to handle the process (they had obviously encountered clients in the same position as us before!) and guided us every step of the way.
Q: How important has having a creative partner been for building your brand?
A: It has been massively important for us to have a Creative Partner on board – in fact we are so delighted with what Oak Creative has helped us to achieve that we are actually bringing our own clients to them now! These networks of trusted partners are so important to the way we all work.
The team at Oak Creative are flexible, personable, easy to work with and knowledgeable – totally fuss free. Working with Oak Creative as a creative partner allows us to prioritise our brand itself, after 30 years in business it’s like the missing piece to our puzzle.