Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Roamfree Rumour - up to 95 made redundant

Not a good day to be working in the travel industry today. Word earlier that people are leaving BA over the T5 chaos. Now I have heard a reliable but unsubstantiated rumour that Australian based channel manager and online hotel retailer Roamfree.com has made as many as 95 people redundant. As I say no confirmation so could be a mistake but my source is good. Any Roamfree people out there want to comment?

UPDATE - 19 April on the road - I cant believe it. I have been deep in business travel. Have taken the long way round to London. As a result I have not had a chance to look at the blog or my timsboot gmail account for about 72 hours. The 82 comments below exceeds by previous record by a factor of ten. Seems like the post became a defacto message board for the angst being felt by ex-Roamfree staff over the redundancies. The point of this blog is an industry news source and analysis forum. It is not a message board or a place to make personal comments about anyone.

I have deleted a number of the comments - almost all those that talked about an individual and their skills, abilities or character. I have kept those that quote public statements of people or express generic comments. Thanks to all the informed commentators and apologies to anyone that saw a comment that they found offensive (that hopefully should now be removed).

Update 2 - I hope all understand that I had to remove some of the posts. It is not because I am a control-freak (which I probably am) or pro-censorship (which I absolutely am not). Instead it is because I am bound by the laws of defamation like anybody else. Additionally I need to keep this Blog focused on what it is - a news, analysis and information source, not a gossip site. That is a little more TechCrunch like than Valleywag (as much as I would love to be as successful as either). I understand completely how the people at Roamfree must feel (those sacked and those left). If someone would like to set up a message board service somewhere for them to continue a discussion without having to fit the format of the BOOT, then I will happily provide a link to that message board (though will not endorse the content).

Update 3 - back to the story. According to the Gold Coast Bulletin (and comments below). The number is closer to 50 than 95.

Update 4 - more news on the story. TravelWeekly also puts the number at 50. Quotes Group executive director Mark Frawley as saying the redundancies came from a merger of Roamfree.com and Roamfree Advanced. Not sure how that works as they were the same company anyway. He rejected rumours of a cash crisis. Queensland's the Courier Mail also has the story along the same lines

Update 5 - 27 April Gold Coast Bulletin has an update on the story here. To all the commentators below, this is not the place to make personal attacks on anyone. Please keep your comments to analysis and discussion of the industry. Personal attacks on people will be deleted. As per above if you want to set up a message board somewhere else I will provide a link.

165 comments:

Anonymous said...

To be fair, having looked at their team page before and wondering about the obscene amount of CEO's and GMs on there and then looking at the amount of traffic, content and properties on the site, it was quite clear that something had to give there...

grah! said...

They are still cashed up and it seemed that Gary got grilled a little over RFs over ambitious dialogue at novacancy yesterday..

This rumor is unlikely, but then again RFs internals seem to be all over the place.

Anonymous said...

I have personally been approached yesterday by two well paid executives looking for wrok that have travelled from the Gold Coast.

They told me that at first that 22 people in senior management were let go and then today another 75 Technical people have been let go as well.

Anonymous said...

"Concrete start to Smiths' mansion..."

At least we know where the bodies are buried

Anonymous said...

Is Pro Cycling Australia backed by Roamfree Ltd out peddling new money ?

Anonymous said...

THE google of the travel space is gone ?

They wont be missed

Anonymous said...

you know what they say

starts with a bang and end with a whimper

Anonymous said...

Not surprising at all.

It is typical for an organization of RFs size (and culture) to think that chucking a crap load of cash into something will provide results, but this just is not the case, especially when focusing on the return provided on each dollar spent.

By accepting new investors and taking the above approach that they have, the founders/directors are securing their position as major shakeholders in wealthy, powerful and well known company, but will not be able to provide investors with a strong ROI. To do this, a company needs to be innovative (something I believe they lack) and spend carefully.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was only a matter of time - what a waste of money for Tony Smith. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

I hear on the grape vine that the number is closer to 50, not the 95 reported initially. I'm sure you'll hear confirmation of the number soon enough.

Anonymous said...

What does this mean for Calypso going forward who are owned by Roamfree... What are Flight Centre, Creative and good old Qantas Holidays thinking

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has had any dealings with Roamfree will see this as no surprise.

I feel for those who put money into this venture - not to mention those businesses that were acquired on the cheap with a promise of fabulous riches on IPO.

Anonymous said...

It's 55 staff members including managers, CEO's and senior staff members from all sections and departments of the Roamfree group. It leaves a total of about 85 totally overworked staff. I was one of the staff members who were sacked today.

Anonymous said...

I'm another of the staff members made redundant today. Can confirm its between 55-60 staff, with some very senior and some of the most hardworking and well respected managers in the business. Tony Smith was nowhere to be seen today - the news was left to be delivered by line managers. Smith has hardly been seen around the business at all in the last two weeks. He was always there with the big pump up when he had a story in the paper and you'd never see him if anything negative was going on.

sparky said...

anyone know why?

so where does that leave roamfree? what direction is it going to go in?

Anonymous said...

No surprise when you consider the roamfree sales method - do whatever you can to get behind the counter and 'show them how to set up an account' - 30 days later send out a bill for the account you set up on the unsuspecting hotelier

Anonymous said...

The direction the company is going in? Two people who got boned just said that 55+ people of all levels got laid off today - what does that tell you about their financial state??!!!

Anonymous said...

I was also one of the employees layed off today. They have plans to make the company cash flow positive by June, so they just removed as many people as it took to get to the point of income vs wages being equal.

The pro cycling Australia deal also is due to end soon. I think roamfree is set to grow slowly now, instead of the no holds barred approach they had before. Just a pity i had to lose my job when they figured this out

Anonymous said...

I used to work for them, they were an absolute shambles. Money invested in technology unused, executive managers with proven records shown the door for speaking out, more money wasted on gimmics and a course everyone was sent on for a methodology that was never adopted.

Anonymous said...

Being in technology since the day electricity was invented it is crazy for anybody to even think that they would have a snowflakes chance in hell in coming good.

Any 1st year business student knows the only thing that comes out of the gold coast are retirees in body bags and real estate sales people tired of selling to aspirants.

This is not the end nor the last we will hear I am sure.

Anonymous said...

In the Gold Coast Bulletin today, a comment was made "It's like building a high rise. Once it's built you don't continue to employ the builders". Sadly I don't this statement holds true in the online game, and I ponder whether Google would still be in business today if they got rid of their "builders".

Anonymous said...

Is there in truth that they recently shut down product sales in an attempt to try and fix the problems with it and educate the accommodation providers? Obviously it was a success, the product is perfect, and it can now look after itself!

“It (the redundancy of staff) was always going to be this way once the growth phase had finished.” – How does the remaining staff feel about this?

Acquisitions have died, their sponsorship of the bike team has died, their billboards make no sense, punters have extreme difficulty booking through their site…

"It's like building a high rise. Once it's built you don't continue to employ the builders”… but if the building is falling over, might help to have someone in there trying to chock it up!

Paul Fisher said...

For those Roamfree people who've been let go, we'd be happy to have a chat with suitable candidates.

totaltravel.com is established (since 2002), profitable, financially secure and growing rapidly. We're also one of the largest travel sites in Australia.

Our head office is located in Byron Bay, around 45 mins away from the Gold Coast. If you'd like to have a chat, feel free to email paul at totaltravel dot com

Anonymous said...

I think something like this was inevitable and to a degree necessary. However you don't fix a vulnerable high-rise by dumping some of the few functioning steel supports. The loss of their most competent asset back to Sydney makes this a bad analogy.

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Anonymous said...

The staff were good. Upper management never listed to their staff... after all, if your a Global CEO, who has two CEO's, a COO, General Managers, Business Managers, Strategic Managers.. etc under you... why listed to the technical staff who actually know the web and develop it.

Anonymous said...
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Angry as hell said...

I was an employee who was made redundant yesterday, wouldn't care so much as the jobs not that crash hot, the thing that gets me is that I am 24wks pregnant and was due to have maternity leave in 2 months, now Im stuck as no-one will employ a pregnant women and everyone knows you can't live off Centrelink, it doesn't even cover my rent.

Thanks for nothing Roamfree.

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Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to their last round of capital raising? Rumors i heard was that they went out to raise for $20-40 mill in the New Year period - has all that gone already??

Anonymous said...

Most of the money raised was put aside for aquisitions, not for ongoing costs. They wanted 1000 bookings a day to cover costs by June, and when I was there they were getting about 10-100 with a massive percentage cancelling prior to travelling. I guess that brilliant and original markeing concept for 5 years of shopper docket promotion hasn't done much... surprise, surprise.

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Anonymous said...

'About 30 sales staff who helped grow Roamfree’s portfolio from 500 to 4000 properties are among those to have lost their jobs.'

Ummm... no sales staff = no sales = no need for a product = roamfree could still be a world champion as a Travelport affiliate!

Dan Roman said...
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Anonymous said...

My experience with Roam Free was a pretty bad one... doesnt surprise me one bit.

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Anonymous said...

last

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is who in their right mind, of the "200" odd employees still at Roamfree, would still have enough faith in the company's "carrot dangling" promises to stick around when they do things like this? What kind of job security do they think they have? To me it was always obvious that it was nothing more than a bunch of cowboys who thought they were invincible throwing lots of money at a poor concept. When the entire fat cat team don't care one bit about their customers, quality of products or staff, what is left? I got out of there a long time ago once I realised it was one big train wreck waiting to happen, but seriously how could you possibly have any kind of faith in anything these guys say anymore? I say, if you got booted yesterday you'll soon realise it was the best thing to happen to you, and if you're still in there you're mad if you stay.

Anonymous said...

We had a look at investing in RF. We where sold the USP and when we said NO we where lauded for not joining the gravy train. Sounds like it gone from Gravy to Grave train.

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Anonymous said...

Unicorns are like soooooo much cooler than regular horses.

Ohhhhhh...magical.

Anonymous said...

It isn't hard to spot which comments are from RF supporters lol. Not surprising that they are abusive in nature either.

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Anonymous said...

The above link is a link to a non related video (rickroll). Referring people to it with the promise of seeing a relevant video has become the "cool" thing to do amongst some nerds in an attempt to waste everyones time.

Tim, if you have the ability, you really need to cut out some of the crap here (including the above comment and this one) so that people can access the useful info easier.

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Anonymous said...

I was one of the many of the many ex-employees shown the door yesterday,At the time I was bitter and angry now am just thank-full they paid me a redundancy package while they still had money to it!! I doubt very much they'll be able to do this for the pore soles left behind, my advise to them; start looking for another job now!!Work for a company that's got a future
ROAMFREE is a complete joke
Google of Accommodation-thats got to be the understatement of the century.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Tim, I agree you need to moderate this forum better - comments about people's personal lives will get no one anywhere.

The real issues here are seriously confronting to the travel industry. With companies like RF operating, online travel remains marginalised as a questionable industry to be involved in and makes it harder for everyone in the industry to attract and retain good quality IT/Finance/corporate/marketing/etc staff.

No industry can be so arrogant to waste human talent and to see comments like 'we plannned to make staff redundant' is disgraceful (and I agree, illegal). What hardworking, intelligent person from say the finance sector would ever consider a career with an online travel company when employers behave like this? Such a bad advertisement for our industry!

Good luck to those out of work, I hope you all find jobs soon.

Anonymous said...

Is consolidation an end to the growth phase and start of the operational phase...is this part of the master plan? Who knows, you're the guru Tim. Trust internet capitalism is treating you well. What does that mean any way does that mean you are the king of SEO of yourself?

Anonymous said...

If we believe what Roamfree are saying, they are 2 years into a 5 year plan, that is so far on track. We might be well advised to save our comments for another 3 years and see what the results are. These guys have never had a failed venture.

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha ha what a joke!

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Anonymous said...

If we believe what Roamfree are saying"....then more fool us.

Everyone knows that they are not getting the number of bookings they planned. It is also well known that their software has not been performing as envisaged and is full of bugs.

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Anonymous said...

HAHA I cant belive some of these comments in here yeah it was shit we got the sack but move on its funny how no one was saying all of this when they had jobs there i had the best time working there and some wicked people i think the way everything yesterday went down was wrong but if u felt that way you should of left ages ago.. at least you got a pay out.

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Anonymous said...

I think one people forget is start ups go through this alot, the company is only about 2 years old and dumped alot of resources into getting a product that is now useable. I have seen startsup hire up to 100 people to get this thing moving, and then down to 10 staff, but they dont make the news. Its' only cause tony smith is at the head of it and the recent news of MFS and his bloody mansion are making this thing out to be a joke.

I know they have some brilliant people working there and its ashame to see alot of them go. My company will be picking up a few of them actually... Some people have been asking how the existing employees feel? to be honest, from what i've been told...devestated but thats life, you get fired, you get hired and unfortunately roamfree is a young company that is now out of its growing phase and into operational status.

Anonymous said...

Mate, I don't know what medication your on but it's time for you to go to bed before you start making sense.

Anonymous said...

its' panadol, and yes i am very tired and no i dont make sense at midnight.

1. leave the current employees alone
2. leave the ex employees alone
3. this is not a big deal
4. media hype sucks.

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Anonymous said...

Mistakes? Yes sure. Learning curve? Also - agreed. And a definite yes and certainly agree with great workers at Roamfree. Genuinely exciting to be part of a new enterprise? Sink or swim? Absolutely! But nobody likes being lied to. Anyone that's been there for any length of time knows that that HAS happened a little TOO often. There's a few with more faces than the town hall clock. Simply, it lacks any respect for a respectful workforce. And really that isn't something new that only started this week is it?

But good luck each - those still in the camp and those out of it! You make your own luck in the world and if you're good enough then you'll be fine with or without them.

Anonymous said...

This company is definately doomed if the management stays the way it is. Investors need to step in and seriously analyse the management structure (top heavy) and decide if these are truly the right people to be leading that company and the nature of the business.

I have sat in meetings with these people and can honestly say it is a complete joke. With that amount of money and the goals they have set out for themselves, I expected to be given a run for my money. Management is clueless when it comes to this type of business. They do/or did (not sure if those people are still in) have great minds, but unfortunately I personally have witnessed the great minds getting shot down when they speak up or share ideas. Looks to me like the loudest person wins at roamfree and there were some really painful loud ones and many bull shitters!

I could feel the frustration. I bet a lot of the great minds I met have left roamfree, I doubt real talent will put up with that for too long.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how people continue to believe what is said by Smith and now Frawley in the media.

Roamfree is in big trouble. Pure and Simple. There will be more job cuts very soon. Then the company will either collapse or have parts sold off.

APN isnt a 20% shareholder in the company. They have options to buy up to 20%. There current stake in the company is more likely a contra deal for billboard advertising.
"The $100 million online tourism services provider recently signed a deal with APN News & Media Limited for an initial $6 million (six per cent) share in the company, with an option to buy a further 14 per cent, equating to $20 million in company equity in the next five years."

Yet Frawley continues to pipe this out ""We have a number of big shareholders (APN News and Media bought a 20 per cent stake last year for $20 million)"

There is no easy finance to get out in the marketplace now. Smith's credibility is shot. The only person who could afford to keep the company going for a short while was Smith and now he is in big financial troubles.

There certainly wont be any new acquisitions soon.

It is a shame for all the great staff that worked there.

Anonymous said...

Tony Smith's 6P's for business success;

Perfect Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

How many times has he rolled that old chestnut out? Don't you just get sick of hearing it? "Gee Tony, that's great! Did you think of that all by yourself or did you pick it up off an old footy coach?"

He's finally changed it to;

Prevarication Prevents Press Probing Personal Problems

Anonymous said...

I was made redundant a couple of months ago from Roamfree, even though i was upset at the time, i hold no ill feelings towards the company. Its a business and its a fact of life.
All you can do is get out there and find another job. I feel for the person that was pregnant as she will be unable to get another job until she has the baby.
By the way it took me six long weeks to get another job.
Good luck to all thoses that were made redundant.

Anonymous said...

"we plannned to make staff redundant"

"Isn't it illegal to have redundencies as part of a long term strategy?"

EXACTLY! legally this is wrong!
it will all come out.

Anonymous said...

In the Gold Coast Bulletin today, "a comment was made "It's like building a high rise. Once it's built you don't continue to employ the builders". Sadly I don't this statement holds true in the online game, and I ponder whether Google would still be in business today if they got rid of their "builders"."

another good point.

Anonymous said...

To all of you that have not worked at roamfree nor know the people who stayed or made to leave grow up and stop forcing your thoughts on everyone. roamfree staff suffered a HUGE blow on thursday and ex staff and the remaining staff have some huge decisions to make.

Anonymous said...

The problem with these guys is that they believe they have been successful bfore and were arrogant enough to believe their own hype and crap. They actually recruited some really competent senior managers with great pedigree in travel - namely James Vaile, Paul Scurrah, Graeme hunter - to run their subsidiaries but then proceeded to not listen to them or encourage them to leave for speaking up or offerig up there advice. and there businesses were the only ones making money - or at least that is what they were telling companies they were spruiking to to buy them. Vaile has left, Scurrah has resinged and Hunter will only stay cos he owns part of Caplypso.

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Anonymous said...

"I know you feel it easy to blame the company, blame Tony Smith" - I meant to say "I know you feel it easy to blame the company AND blame tony smith" - i know what I meant, but I didn't want people to get the wrong idea!

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Gees, as management is being so open with the media, are they being open with who is left. Surely every person is entitled to ask when can i expect to be made redundant? and seeing as everything is going according to plan, this brilliant management team will be able to give them a precise date.

Anonymous said...

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard & they're like its better than yours.

Kebabs are sooo hot right now. Just about as hot as unicorns.

Unicorns are the new black.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a bunch of losers....I have worked for the current RF management before and it has made me financially very comfortable now....guess all you guys punted were just not up to it and hence I am sure RF now thinks they have made the right decisions by cutting you all from this obviously ground breaking and very local business...redundancies in a slowing domestic market are a fact of life...get over it...watch out for more in all areas...the great monolith stella even dumped 100+ staff on the gold coast on one day last year and that was in the good times!!!!!
lets support our entrepreneurs on the gold coast and send all the whingers back to Victoria from whence they have no doubt come...

Anonymous said...

Last annon. Yes I am sure it did make you very comfortable, and some few buddies at RF will also do quite well no doubt. RF will survive, it wouldn't be hard to keep a web site survive with several million. Yes this is a merger and it happens all the time, although, they did just split the company up 6 months ago, moving floors 3 months ago. Rebranded everything of course. I guess the point is the ethical way management continued to pressure staff, promising glory, knowing only the minority would obtain it. Providing the minimal notice possible. Some people were only given permanent jobs only 6 months ago and let go. They have spent an absolute fortune left, right and centre to get not very far. I'm sure the upper-senior management and directors will make money - whether they are ethical and worthy of such community support, is up to great debate.

Anonymous said...

Let's get back to the main issue here: new cashed up website in very competitive industry, led by cowboy management with questionable ethics, blows its advertising wod early leaving subscribers unfulfilled and staff languishing. Why is it so hard for everyone to see that this WAS the plan, based on Frawley's cavalier and very public comments about sacking the builders when the building was complete (he's in the wrong industry if this is his philosophy...refer to the astute comment about this strategy related to becoming the "Google of travel"). This is a clear case of the tortoise and the hare (the hare here being Total Travel maybe...chugging along quietly over many years, gathering hundreds of thousands of pages of accurate content and doing very well with commission-free service and great SEO - Google of travel you said, Mr. Smith?). Maybe that's why RF sales staff even had directions to tell some of its prospective customers that they had partnered with Total Travel (to piggy back on its solid SEO and great industry reputation?). Then they were told to say RF had bought Total Travel, a blatant and outright lie. I've spoken with a number of RF customers in the past year, then a lot on friday and this morning...most people quote overpromising and underdelivering on the product and the company - overall very negative feedback thus far. Honesty and integrity matter in this tightly knit industry, so those of you remaining at RF please question your upper mgmt and ensure you act with integrity, the accommodation operators of Australia are counting on you to look after them! Good luck to you all.

Anonymous said...

Anyone roam free reps looking for work do contact me on gerson@gstop.com or call on 0412 786 715.

Anonymous said...

If your site is gstop.com, you're gonna need more than reps mate.

Anonymous said...

In the early RF days last year the sales team was flaunting so called "partnerships" with TotalTravel.com, being the #2 most visited accommodation website in Australia. Do any RF sales reps (current or redundant) care to comment on the stories you were telling about these "partnerships" that were quickly knocked back by TT? Was it your management that told you to position RF as allied with the top SEO'd performers in the industry? Did you know there were no liaisons in place and are you surprised to hear this now?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Total Travel directors and/or management are going on a fishing expedition. If so, I hope you catch a big one. Word of advice though, keep your fingers clear because you might get bitten.

Anonymous said...

Healthy competition (with honest marketing) is always good, threats are a funny thing especially on the back of cuts...but again this is typical behaviour from RF. I'm speaking from direct client feedback in the marketplace, which was flooded with untruths from RF about being partners with TT. Care to clarify or just hide behind poorly chosen assumptions & metaphors?

Anonymous said...

The word is out!!! Roamfree management now want to grow the business at a modest pace on the back of Calypso, the distribution network used by Qantas and Flight Centres.

Hot of the press!!! Roamfree are looking to take this product to the US via a large US travel retailer who is considering taking up Calypso AT THIS VERY MOMENT.

With last Thursday's blood letting now complete, they are left with a fat middle management structure and the word is that these guys are the next to go. The same guys who gave the bad news last week will soon get a taste of their own medicine!!

Stay tuned to this channel ...

Anonymous said...

TT's Calypso is a dog - it really is. RF are dooooomed.

Anonymous said...

its not a good idea to speculate on peoples terminations in a public forum, for one the current employees (im an ex with friends that are still there) are still very shaken, dont screw their lives up even more by making them look over their shoulder every 15 minutes.

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Anonymous said...

I am one of the sacked sales staff who only started with the company 6 weeks ago. I left a well paying job with promises of internal advancement. I am wondering if them saying it was a plan to sack staff not illegal considering i was only just hired.

On another interesting note in my search for a new job i found a "new" advertisement on seek.com this weekend that says the company (Roamfree) is looking for casual telemarketers in the travel and leisure industry. Can someone explain that please.

Anonymous said...

Can someone give some information on exactly what roles were cut back. Clearly the merger line being touted is not accurate of the situation.

Where they just in sales - if so sales for what part of the business?

Where they in administration, web development, programmers etc

Also what senior management were let go?

Anonymous said...

All departments got hit, IT took a big hit, but sales, operations, business etc everyone lost someone.

I was in sales.

Anonymous said...

Anyways yes it was unfortunate that the company had to make all these people redundant but this happens and people we need to move on.

We all received redundancy packages and i know we all only had 5 minutes to pack our shit and leave, and no fuss was allowed.

Some sections which were made redundant, this is for the news and media.

Account Management
Training Schedulers
Customer Support
Sales
Training Team - Leaders / Managers

and that's just naming a few.

No i don't have a personal vendetta against the company nor do i hate them.

I respect the desicion they have made.

But it's more to the fact that what they have done is illegal, and many of you will agree.

They have made redunacy a piece of a long term plan.

I believe in the freedom of speech and the ability to share knowledge.

If you would like more information regarding this contact me here.


roamfree@hushmail.com

Peace Out!

Anonymous said...

I have heard from someone who was let go that they are in more financial trouble than they are letting on and that more redundancies are to be expected.

As for the their excuse that it is due to a merger of roamfree advanced and roamfree.com...do they think we are idiots? This just further exposes their true nature and their willingness to deceive and then deceive some more.

Anonymous said...

YOu guys are the lucky ones, you could be working for Stella - who are going down the same long road to NOWHERE!!!

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Anonymous said...

Here's that link again:

Tycoon Tony Smith sells his dream for $30m

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Anonymous said...

May I suggest that the Roamfree Ltd Media Centre now update the Media Clippings section of their website to reflect the sale of Smith's mansion. They were more than happy to include the following press release on 21/01/08

....."Concrete start to Smith's mansion"...

I refer to the Roamfree website, where they state......."You will also find press releases specific to Roamfree’s people, products and subsidiaries."

p.s. to the IT guy... better check with Tony first to see if it's ok.

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Anonymous said...

A quote from much further up the blog:

"It is also well known that their software has not been performing as envisaged and is full of bugs."

It should be noted that for some time (since before christmas) I believe their "flagship" product, the Global Accommodation Search, has only had 1 or 2 developers working on it.

Out of ~200 staff.

Anonymous said...

Tim, your blog is famous.....the Couriermail picked up the Roamfree story from your blog. The company surely is doomed as no amount of spin doctoring will give back their reputation now. I would sooner touch a leper before I touch Roamfree

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23612399-3122,00.html

Anonymous said...

...and now Tony is gone...

http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2008/04/29/10536_gold-coast-top-story.html

Anonymous said...

... and now Roamfree is going ...

Anonymous said...

Courier Mail States - Under the deal after five years' employment, staff were eligible for stock options.

I am still employed with roamfree and my contract clearly says that I will have shares allocated to me after 12 months of employment and once the stock floats. So is that another lie and I will get nothing now?

Anonymous said...

Just a quick observation -

I was under the clear impression that company is not even 12 months old. The company only split into two separate companies at the start of the year under the Roamfree group banner.

4 Months on the company has merged back into one entity - surly that was never their plan so how come they can lie about this publicly. Further more there was a whole stack of staff hired at the beginning of the year with full time contracts. All these new staff members have now lost their job - again it was their plan to hire and fire staff within a 3 month period. Surely a government body like workplace relations should investigate the legality of all this.

Anonymous said...

i dont think your shares would be worth anything now, the company certainly wont be floating any more.

Anonymous said...

Stock options??? Haha. Talk to a few ex-BreakFree employees and ask them about all the promises that were made about them receiving stock options. It sounds like an old tune is being played to a different audience. Seriously, don't get your hopes up because you'll be extremely disappointed!!

Anonymous said...

I have noticed Roamfree has suspended their adwords advertising for accommodation. If the Roamfree website isn't ranking and the accommodation portals they purchased have all slipped in rankings where are they getting their bookings from?

Or are there no bookings?

Nick C said...

As a hotelier it is very interesting reading these comments. We liked the RF premise but were ceratinly put off by conflicting claims from sales reps and a very buggy interface. Oh and billing... Even that would have been OK but when the billboard campaign came out we all went 'WTF'?

Tim Hughes said...

is there are double meaning in using the acronym WTF? if you dont know what I mean then look up what Wotif.com's ticker symbol is on the Australian Stock Exchange...:)

Anonymous said...

its a load of crap they keep saying that people were lost because of a "company merger"

THEY JUST SPLIT THE COMPANIES 3-4 MONTHS AGO!

Claiming that it will streamline things and they were happy about it, they realized THEIR mistake and then re-merged the companies.

The next person that tells me that i lost my job because of a merger!!! HA!! more like a "re-merger" x2!!

It wasn't planned, it was OOPS CRAP shouldn't have done that!!!

Anonymous said...

This blog is corrupt; half the comments have been taken down, there no such thing as free speech anymore!!!!some tosser from Roamfree has asked the derogatory ones be taken off.

Tim Hughes said...

Dear Mr or Ms Anon (who refuses to tell me or anyone else who they are). My name is Tim Hughes. This is my blog. I tell everyone who I am and have a linkedin profile at the top telling everybody anything they want to know about me. This blog is for commentary on an industry. It is not a free message board for insulting people or screaming obscenaties. If you want (be it anon or with your name held high) to shout obscenaties or insult people then feel free to do it, just do it somewhere else. No-one has "got to me", "paid me off" or any such thing. If you are so passionate about there being a free place to post information then set up a message board under your name and I will point a link to it. Otherwise I will continue to delete comments that potentially insult and individual or group of identifiable individuals.

Anonymous said...

An insider has just stated that another 22 have crosses through their names. This brings the total to, yes believe it or not, 95. The original rumour was spot on. These unfortunate staff will be handed their notices over the next 6 weeks. It is across all sections of the business - very senior management down.

Also it sounds like oracle is about to be binned - no-one is left with a clue on how to run it. Now that's strategic planning at its best. Wow - good way to blow 6-8 million.

William Mark Felt said...

Boy I'm glad they didn't have blogs during the Watergate Scandal. 'Deep Throat' has a much better ring to it than 'Anonymous'.

Anonymous said...

"Tony Smith's 6P's for business success;

Perfect Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

How many times has he rolled that old chestnut out? Don't you just get sick of hearing it? "Gee Tony, that's great! Did you think of that all by yourself or did you pick it up off an old footy coach?"

He's finally changed it to;

Prevarication Prevents Press Probing Personal Problems"

19 April 2008 08:47

"With last Thursday's blood letting now complete, they are left with a fat middle management structure and the word is that these guys are the next to go. The same guys who gave the bad news last week will soon get a taste of their own medicine!!

Stay tuned to this channel ..."

21 April 2008 15:40


DON'T MEAN TO TELL YOU I TOLD YOU SO BUT I TOLD YOU SO.

Anonymous said...

roamfree website down again.

Anonymous said...

Still down.

haha what a joke. With all that money they have raised, they can not even put redundancies in place to prevent this from happening? It is not like they have a heap of traffic to cope with.

Then on top of that, with over 200 employees, they can not fix the site promptly or place a holding page there?

lol!

Anonymous said...

"...they can not even put redundancies in place..."

They did put redundancies in place... just staff redundancies, not infrastructure redundancies...

Anonymous said...

Anyone know which company Gary Knowles has moved to now?

Anonymous said...

Now that Captain Smith has jumped overboard and abandoned the SS Roamfree, it's left to the rest of the crew to try and steer the ship. Best of luck!! They couldn't run a sea sick tablet raffle between the lot of them.

First Mate Knowles would have made an excellent choice to take over the bridge but they made him walk the plank.

Anonymous said...

If you think it is bad that their website goes down so often, check this: http://www.resonline.com.au (run by roamfree).

Half the links lead to dead (404) pages lol.

Anonymous said...

i dont know what your talking about dead links i tried to use some and they are all fine.

and plus; resonline is a legacy product and was being phased out and is no longer supported meaning (there is no one working on it)

at least that was what was happening before i was fired :)

but im starting to think this blog is a perfect example of the lack of life some people have this is old news, how about you all go create a blog about how westpac is rumored to have 3000 jobs cut, or.. you know do something more useful with your time.

Anonymous said...

Why are you viewing posts and posting on this blog then??

I suppose it's because you're unemployed and got nothing better to do with YOUR time.

Anonymous said...

i actually got a job on the following monday thank you very much... better paid as well.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you're back again. I'm a bit surprised that you've gone to the trouble of posting again as I thought that you had better things to do with your time. LOL. Good luck with your new job!!

Anonymous said...

any more updates on Roamfree, they seem to have gone quiet.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A quote from much further up the blog:

"It is also well known that their software has not been performing as envisaged and is full of bugs."

It should be noted that for some time (since before christmas) I believe their "flagship" product, the Global Accommodation Search, has only had 1 or 2 developers working on it.

Out of ~200 staff.

27 April 2008 16:18

This is true - developers were reallocated to try to steady they very unstable and poorly thoughtout Roamfree Advanced product. Everytime the GAS team got its developers back from Roamfree Advanced some other problem or crisis would come up requiring these resources to be once again diverted from their true tasks in improving GAS.

Anonymous said...

How many of these guys are still there, other than Mark Frawley.

Tony Smith
Managing Director
Roamfree Group
Mark Frawley
Roamfree Group
Executive Director
Bryan Frawley
Roamfree Group
Executive Director
Gary Knowles
Roamfree Group
Global CEO
Ermi Avoledo
Roamfree Group
Chief Financial Officer
Colin Hussey
Roamfree Advanced
CEO
Glenn Checkley
Roamfree Group GM
Mergers and Acquisitions
Chris Dodd
roamfree.com
CEO
David Oliver
Commercial
Business Manager
Matt Lloyd
Roamfree Group
Manager- IT Strategy

Anonymous said...

R.I.P Roamfree

Born 2006 Died 2008

Died a sudden death due to the sub prime plague . Was not around long enough to live up to any promises. Will be greatly missed by hotel industry. You are now free to roam the afterlife in peace.

Anonymous said...

Tony Smith = Gone
Gary Knowles = Gone
Ermi Avoledo = Still there
Matt Lloyd = Still there

(2nd hand info tho)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony Smith = Gone
Gary Knowles = Gone
Ermi Avoledo = Still there
Matt Lloyd = Still there

(2nd hand info tho)

17 May 2008 01:10

Matt Lloyd is a significant shareholder in the business and is one of Tony Smith's right hand people. He's not going anywhere.

(Also 2nd hand info)

Anonymous said...

Latest rumor - Travel Online and Tourism Technology to be sold to an unknown party. The deal involves some kind of deal to bail out the .com retail brand. Unsure of any mention about RF Advanced products surviving - perhaps they are rolled into the .com in Wotif style now?

jacqui said...

Jacqui
We have used resonline and keep getting promises for Roamfree advanced...how can i find out what is going on....we have had strange bookings, bookings without deposits ....Anyone have an idea.which online booking system is the best and most stable

Anonymous said...

Jacqui, you will not get roamfree advanced until the end of the year.

Roamfree is treating you as a legacy client, which means due to the huge number of people on the old products.

They can't afford to transistion you to the knew programs.

Thus your stuck, and are unable to upgrade, this is due to the fact roamfree advanced, gets more money.

And to put it in a nutshell..

ROAMFREE ADVANCED - IS A WEB BASED VERSION OF RESONLINE / LMM.

There is no gain / no extra exposure.

Roamfree, your a going to fall.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if anyone still cares, but at least another 8 people were retrenched from roamfree today.
There have also been a couple of other rounds of redundancies since the first big one.
Is there anyone left?

Anonymous said...

I don't care anymore. Roamfree don't have any of the original GAS development staff, and no expertise.

Consider this, in the days leading up to the retrenchments, Roamfree announced internally that they have record bookings, and record revenues for a given day, and the number of affiliate booking was increasing.

Roamfree are reaching for the skies and then hitting the ground with a thump!

Anonymous said...

Who's running Roamfree at the moment? I heard that Tony Smith snuck back unannounced and is now working in the business. Is that right?

Anonymous said...

I still work here and he's around most days, nobody's told us what he's doing though

Anonymous said...

yeh, i found it odd too..

"we are having record bookings blah blah blah"..

then 8 more out the door the next few days...

there's no original development staff left. I guess they just wanted that extra "over the line cash positive flow" and faster then usual...

its a load of crap at the moment and alot of people are upset and just tired...but its the way the economy is i guess, numerous amounts of my friends are getting "threats of redundancies" at their own companies.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim Hughes said...

Have said it before. This blog is not the place to make personal comments about anyone. Please keep your comments to discussions of the industry, company performance and likely commercial activity. If you want a place to vent about people, set up a message board somewhere else. I will send a link to it. Comments criticising individuals under Anon headings will be deleted. Why? Because this blog is under my name and is for discussing an industry not an individual

Anonymous said...

To the Site Administrator ...

What is the difference between the last post that you deleted and the previous post that you didn't delete?

There was no personal reference to any person in particular in either comment and if any site visitor was to draw an inference that comments related indirectly to any particular person then maybe all comments of a "general" nature should be deleted.

The only problem is that you will make this site so uninteresting and bland by your heavy handed censorship that nobody will want to visit it.

Tim Hughes said...

Dear "Anon". You dont have to address your note to "the Site Administrator". Address it to me. My name is Tim Hughes. This is my blog. I put my name on it. I link my profile to it. I do not hide behind the word "anon" or site admin or any other pseudonym or fake identity. It is me. And this is my blog. It is a place for industry analysis and commentary, not attacking an individual. If you don't like the blog- don't read it. If you want to defame people, then do it somewhere else and have the guts to do it under your own name.

I have offered time and time again to put a link to a message board for people to comment on the individual managers. But each offer has been ignored. In the case of the last two posts, one mentioned and manager in such a way that I thought the person could be identified. Whereas the second was more generic. But on reflection I will delete both. Thanks for your comment, you have confirmed my view that many are treating this post as a place to rant and defame rather than analyse and comment. Don't agree with me? Then have the guts to say so with your name on it.

Anonymous said...

What does posting a name to a post achieve? If you decide that the post contains defamatory comments then you'll delete it anyway!! If you don't want comments to be made anonymously then remove it as an identity choice option. Seems like you're not heeding your own advice by now resorting to verbal confrontation and personal attacks on others. Maybe you're getting as frustrated as those poor bastards who have been cheated and conned by those who you chose to protect. I'll take your advice and not bother visiting this blog again. Good luck.

Tim Hughes said...

Good riddance

Anonymous said...

Wonder why roamfree.com are now taking full payment on behalf of accommodation providers? Are they going to invest the millions of dollars and earn interest in turn to show a positive return on investment?

Here is an extract of the email sent this week -

""Processing bookings just got easier!
You will no longer need to process payments for bookings generated via roamfree.com and it's affiliate network. Roamfree will soon take full payment from the guest's credit card on your behalf before they check-in.
When will this change take place?
1 November 2008.
What do I need to do?
If you have not already done so, please provide Roamfree with your correct bank account details so that we can deposit payment for bookings directly into your nominated account.
What about future bookings that have already been received?
A list of future bookings made to your property prior to 1st November 2008 will be sent to you on the day of the change. The responsibility to take payment for these bookings lies with you and you should follow the payment policy applicable at the time of booking.
If you are unsure on the details of these bookings (including credit card information), please refer to the bookings tab within your Roamfree account.
Payment Terms
From 1 November 2008, our standard payment terms will be applied to all bookings as follows:
• Deposit = 1 night accommodation at the time of booking and full payment 28 days prior to arrival.
• Bookings made inside 28 days of arrival = full payment at time of booking.
Cancellation Policy
If you have NOT provided us with a cancellation policy, the following terms will automatically apply:
• 8 or more days prior to arrival = loss of deposit
• 7 or less days prior to arrival = 100% of accommodation cost
If you have previously provided us with a cancellation policy or wish to apply your own, then please update this from the Booking & Policies tab from within your Roamfree account.
The cancellation fee less our commission and merchant fees (1.1% for all credit cards) will be deposited into your nominated bank account on the 15th of the month following departure.
Invoice Payments
Unlike other sites, you are not required to invoice Roamfree for payment as we will automatically send it to you.
Payment Process
You will be paid for all your bookings on the 15th of the month following departure of the booking. You will be paid your gross booking value less commissions and merchant fees. Where the 15th of the month is on a weekend or public holiday in Queensland, you will be paid the on the next business day.""

freeme said...

i think its time everyone got over this; its the way of the world everyone gets made redundant... move on... any talks like policy and new features of the company i suggest be made in a new blog.

Aaron said...

I've been working for 19 years, pretty much full time, firstly in the Navy for 9 years and then in a mixture of private and public sector jobs, so I have some varied work experience. It is my expectation that I can be sacked every day that I worked for a private company, as the owners of the company can do whatever they want, on a whim, and this is what happened at Roamfree. I was one of the developers that got shafted in early October from Roamfree and I was shocked when it happened, but not surprised. At the previous Friday’s staff meeting there was the usual rhetoric of record booking numbers and a promise of better things to come and Chris Dodd, the CEO, said that there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to make the company successful, a week later 8 of us were sacked. I was let go on a Thursday, 2 years to the day that I started and I was let go on that day so that the company wouldn’t have to pay me the fortnights extra pay they would have to if they let me go on the following day, a Friday. I was informed of my dismissal by middle management, upper management said nothing, the next day, I was to meet up with the guys for lunch and as I was waiting out the front of the building Chris Dodd, Mark Frawley and my ex manager come out of the building and saw me, and shook my hand and apologized. I said to them as I have written here, that I understand, no hard feelings etc, but the thing that got me is that Mark told me that “We’re finally making a profit”. Big f**king deal!!! As mature as I am, his success at my expense is not really something that I care too much about. Just goes to show what I already knew, and that is that those in charge at Roamfree are in the business of business, and whereas they might now be making a profit, they won’t be making any friends. Good luck to all at Roamfree.

Scott Smith said...

Isn't Roamfree now a telephone booking service? Also isn't Tony Smith leaving the country? Indonesia is the word around here... I haven't seen many articles in the Bulletin about it. Maybe Indonesia's first Tour De France team? That'd be such a coup.

Richard said...
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Anonymous said...

Word is that Chris Dodd is the latest to go from Roamfree - don't know whether pushed or just fed up

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.