April 24, 2024

James Parkhouse, Agiito CEO

Capita Travel and Events and sister company, NYS, have unveiled a new single brand. Bev Fearis spoke with CEO James Parkhouse

Tell us more about the thinking behind the new name, Agiito.

We didn’t want to have a name that had a descriptive in it. Travel is very broad and what we do is very broad. We are in business travel but we don’t run any airlines or hotels or rail companies. We’re intermediaries. We match, we help people move around and make connections. So we wanted a name that reflected this. Agito is Latin for “I move” and we’ve added the two ‘i’s in the middle to represent bringing people together. The rebrand has been in the planning for some time – for more than six months – but we decided back in January that in the midst of a global pandemic it was not the time to be unveiling it.

Why did you want to distinguish yourself from the Capita brand?

Capita has got hundreds of different parts to its business. People look at the Capita brand and they think of all other kinds of services, like administering TV licences or pensions, which are not relevant to us but which, with the Capita name, we carried around with us. We wanted to better reflect our people and our values.

What are your brand values?

Our brand values are to be real, be fluid, have spirit and grit, and to flourish. We want to help our people and our customers to flourish. With our values we wanted to avoid corporate speak and use natural sounding, down-to-earth words. We wanted to be more human. People are at the heart of our business.

Was the decision also influenced by Capita’s announcement that it wants to sell off its travel and events arm?

Capita has made no secret that we will be sold. Its new CEO has a clear strategy to focus on the big outsourcing contracts and that wasn’t really us. Of course, it makes it easier to go to market if we are seen as a standalone entity. It’s easier for us to have a different brand.

Does the new non-descriptive umbrella brand give you the chance to expand your services in the future?

We’re always going to be in business travel, meetings and venue find. We’re not going to start selling wool! Even before Covid we were looking at ways to help our customers find smarter ways to work and meet and to help them save money. Our job is to help our customers make better decisions on how they travel and meet. We connect people and that might be in person or, increasingly, using technology.

Have you shared the new name with your clients?

We went quite early to tell both our customers and our supplier partners to prepare them because it makes it hard work if everything has to change overnight. The feedback has been great. They’ve told us: “That sounds a lot more like you. It better encapsulates you.”

Are you seeing an upturn in business as we come out of lockdown?

Noone is going to say it’s absolutely wonderful but we are a domestically-centred business and we are now seeing increased activity in the UK and we expect to see even more of an increase after July 19. International travel, however, is still a lot more depressed. We’ve been bringing more people back from furlough. The furlough scheme has been massively helpful for us but we want to use it less and less. We’re currently tracking to forecast and every week we’re seeing booking volumes rise. We’re cautiously optimistic.