EasyGroup

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EasyGroup Holdings Limited
Type Privately held
Industry Brand licensing
Founded 1998
Headquarters Kensington, City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom
Products Airlines
Car Hire
Bus service
Internet
Hotels
Owner(s) Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Subsidiaries EasyGroup IP Licensing Ltd
Website www.easy.com

EasyGroup (styled as easyGroup, incorporated as EasyGroup Holdings Ltd), founded in 1998, is the holding company controlling the "easy" group of companies. It is privately owned by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Through its wholly owned subsidiary EasyGroup IP Licensing Ltd, the company licences the Easy brand to other businesses. Since 2012 Easygroup has also licensed the Fastjet brand to the low-cost African airline.

The company was established to expand the "easy" brand following the successful launch of EasyJet in 1995. The first use of “easy” after EasyJet was to EasyInternetcafé established in June 1999.[1] This was followed in 2000 with the establishment of EastRentacar, later renamed EasyCar.

All "easy" branded companies offer a no-frills service and use the yield management system to set prices. In the last few years the company has recruited franchise partners to expand its activities. The group is registered in the Cayman Islands,[2] but operates from its office in Kensington, London.

EasyGroup brands[edit]

EasyGroup publishes brand guidelines for all Easy companies to follow, together with the company's brand values:[3]

  1. great value
  2. taking on the big boys
  3. for the many not the few
  4. relentless innovation
  5. keep it simple,
  6. entrepreneurial
  7. making a difference in people’s lives
  8. honest, open, caring and fun

EasyJet[edit]

Main article: EasyJet

EasyJet is a low-cost airline which began flying on 10 November 1995. It is one of the two largest budget airlines in Europe, alongside its sometimes bitter rival Ryanair. It was the first company owned by EasyGroup to use the "easy" prefix. EasyJet Airline Company Limited is a separate company which licenses the "easyJet" name from easyGroup.

Fastjet[edit]

Main article: Fastjet

Fastjet is a low cost airline established in 2012 that operates in Africa, following a similar business model to EasyJet. It is the first non-Easy brand-name licensed by EasyGroup.

EasyCar[edit]

In April 2000 the company set-up the car rental company EasyRentacar (later renamed EasyCar), with the only rental car available being the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The new EasyCar company now operates as an international car rental broker via the Internet.

EasyCarClub was launched by EasyCar in February 2014 as a peer-to-peer rental scheme that allows members to rent under-used private cars from one another.[4] It was trialled in London during 2013.[5]

EasyBus[edit]

Box office for the Easyjet shuttle bus to London City at London Stansted Airport
Main article: EasyBus

EasyBus began operating on 30 July 2004. The company currently offers a low-cost express minibus service between Central London and three London airports: Gatwick, Stansted and Luton. Journeys can be booked via the EasyBus website, or customers can purchase, usually at higher prices, from the EasyBus airport sales desks, or by paying the driver if joining in London. Online bookings offer guaranteed seats on specific services.

EasyPizza[edit]

Main article: EasyPizza

A delivery-only pizza company launched in 2004. EasyPizza ceased to operate their independent franchised stores in December 2009, and teamed up with Just Eat, who operate as a third party to local pizza takeaway and delivery companies.

EasyHotel[edit]

Main article: EasyHotel
Typical EasyHotel room

EasyHotel is a "no frills super budget" hotel operator which started with one hotel in 2005, and now has 20 hotels in various locations in London (Victoria, Old St, South Kensington, Paddington and Heathrow) as well as Luton, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Basel, Zurich, Budapest, Sofia, Porto, Berlin, Larnaca, Dubai, Edinburgh, Budapest, The Hague and Glasgow.[6] Rooms contain either a double bed or twin single beds, are en-suite and one wall panel is orange in colour with corporate logos on the wall and doors. Toiletries (except soap/shampoo) are not supplied and the use of the TV and the housekeeping facility is additional. Reservations must be made online, with the less expensive stays given the further in advance of booking.

EasyOffice[edit]

EasyOffice was established by EasyGroup in 2007, and runs low-cost serviced office space in Croydon.

EasyGym[edit]

EasyGroup announced the launch of a chain of no frill gyms called EasyGym in May 2011, with the first two branches in Slough and Wood Green.[7] EasyGym now owns ten gyms across the UK including their flagship in Central London on Oxford Street.[8]

Other businesses[edit]

  • Easy.com - A free e-mail service began in November 2000. This site also acts as the easyGroup main portal.
  • EasyVan – Like EasyCar, EasyVan.com operates with outside suppliers to provide van rental across the UK. EasyVan provide van hire from more than 120 locations throughout the United Kingdom.

Dormant businesses[edit]

EasyValue[edit]

EasyValue was an internet shopping comparison site that began trading in November 2000.[9] In 2002 EasyValue was challenged by Ryanair for displaying its flights without their permission.[10]

EasyMoney[edit]

On 21 August 2001 the credit card company, EasyMoney was set up with Accucard (now part of Lloyds TSB), which was expanded on 14 February 2005 with the announcement that unbundled car insurance products provided by Zurich would be sold later in the year at EasyMoney insurance. In April 2006, EasyGroup linked with Moneysupermarket.com to provide a financial product comparison website.[11] This coincided with the withdrawal of the EasyMoney credit card.

EasyCinema[edit]

On 23 May 2003 the cinema company, EasyCinema at The Point, Milton Keynes was opened at a former UCI site, offering screenings from 20p if booked well in advance. The cinema initially struggled as major distributors were not prepared to release new films to the company using the yield-management model. First run films later became available, but at fixed prices. The cinema also relented on not serving popcorn and drinks, which previously went unsold to save on staffing costs.[12]

Towards the end of its life, the cinema site also housed an EasyInternetcafé and was a pick-up point for EasyPizza. However, following a dispute over unpaid rent with the landlord, Odeon,[13] which resulted in eviction, the EasyCinema closed in May 2006 and reopened as an Odeon cinema. The closure of the Milton Keynes EasyCinema appears to have curtailed the desired expansion into London's West End.[14][15]

In March 2005 saw the commencement of EasyCinema Online DVD Rental (stylised as easyCinema), first announced in November 2004. This is a partnership with LOVEFiLM, the company operating rental services for several other retail brands. However, unlike many online DVD rental services, there is no monthly subscription but the user purchases rental credits. On 1 August 2012 the easyCinema website and branding ceased and became wholly branded as LOVEFiLM.

Easy4Men[edit]

On 9 December 2004 the men's toiletries range Easy4Men was launched together with Boots. Originally conceived to challenge Gillette, the product line did not include a razor.[16] After disappointing sales the partnership with Boots was dissolved in 2006.[17] As of 2011, it is no longer in operation.[18]

EasyMusic[edit]

EasyMusic began operation on 22 December 2004 in conjunction with Wippit. It sold copyrighted music downloads offered from 25p, although the minimum transaction value is £1 and there are charges for using credit cards and SMS payment methods. The service stopped selling downloads in January 2008, but began to sells CDs in conjunction with CDwow.

EasyCruise[edit]

A no frills cruise ship called EasyCruise was launched on Friday 6 May 2005, targeting the 18-40 age-group, rather than the traditional retired market. The first vessel was known as EasyCruiseOne. Expansion of the EasyCruise fleet was announced in 2006.[19] A franchise operation using a converted river freighter EasyCruiseTwo operated from 2006 until 17 August 2007. EasyCruise was sold to Hellenic Seaways in August 2009 for £9 million.[20]

EasyMobile[edit]

EasyMobile was a mobile virtual network operator, launched in March 2005[21] as a pay as you go service in partnership with TDC. The service closed in December 2006.[22] Rival mobile service, Orange, attempted to sue EasyGroup as it claimed the use of the orange EasyMobile logo breached its trademark and could confuse customers.[23] The EasyMobile service was also launched in the Netherlands, but this service closed at short notice at the end of July 2006.[24]

Legal action[edit]

In the past EasyGroup has threatened legal action against several businesses using "easy" as part of their name. In 2005, EasyGroup threatened legal action against a Welsh company which had been trading as EasyMobile since 2003, two years before the launch of EasyGroup's EasyMobile business.[25] EasyGroup dropped action against London businessman Karl Kahn after it emerged that his EasyPizza business predated EasyGroup's business of the same name by several years.[26] In 2008, a restaurant in Northampton agreed to stop calling itself "easyCurry" after threats of legal action from EasyGroup.[27]

In 2012, a Northwich-based gym called Easy Exercise was challenged that it could not use the Easy name, with EasyGroup citing “The easy name is synonymous with quality, value for money services and we have a duty to protect the public from its unauthorised use.”[28]

In July 2010, Sir Stelios criticised the previous chief executive of easyJet's (Andy Harrison) handling of airline punctuality. In a statement he said: “I have been receiving many unsolicited complaints from members of the public and even easyJet pilots about the degree that the airline is short of crew to operate the flights it sold to its customers. Unless Mike Rake [the chairman] and Carolyn McCall [the new chief executive] do something to improve the situation for the sake of the travelling public, I am left with no option but to terminate the brand licence.” Other differences have emerged concerning travel-associated "extras" such as hotel bookings under the "easyJethotels" brand, and car hire under "easyJetcarhire". EasyGroup contended that it licenced the "easyJet" brand primarily for airline use, and that using the brand for hotel and car hire interfered with other easyGroup businesses.[29]

[edit]

The easyJet logo showing the EasyGroup's standard typeface and colour

The EasyGroup logo is known for its distinctive orange colour,[30] Pantone 021. The logo uses the Cooper Black font, with lower case used for the "easy" part of the business name.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Witness Statement of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou". HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE CHANCERY DIVISION. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "EasyJet case turns spotlight on Stelios". Financial Times. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "EasyGroup Brand Manual". EasyGroup. June 2010. p. 12. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Brignall, Miles (8 February 2014). "EasyCar Club: would you dare rent your vehicle to a neighbour?". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Shannon, Laura (4 February 2014). "'I let other drivers rent my car so motoring doesn't cost me a penny': Can you start sharing to slash bills? Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-2550054/Neighbour-drive-car-help-pay-running-costs.html#ixzz2uQHNbQL1". This Is Money. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  6. ^ By Unknown (31 July 2010). "Easyjet to enter Edinburgh hotel market - Scotsman.com News". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  7. ^ "EasyGym to open up to 10 centres a year". The Independent. 29 May 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "The shopping workout! 30-minute exercise routine that builds crucial bag-carrying (and credit card-swiping) muscles". The Daily Mail. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Vickers, Amy (21 November 2000). "EasyGroup launches best-buy site". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "EasyValue's website data riles Ryanair". Daily Telegraph. 7 May 2002. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Gavin Richardson (13 April 2006). "news : easyMoney expands". easy.com. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  12. ^ Duffy, Jonathan (23 May 2003). "Cinema Paradiso it ain't". BBC News. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "'No frills' Easycinema shuts down". BBC News. 30 May 2006. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  14. ^ Gibson, Owen (25 July 2005). "EasyCinema eyes West End debut". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  15. ^ Clark, Andrew (29 May 2006). "Rent rise brings down curtain on easyCinema". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  16. ^ Gavin Richardson (9 December 2004). "news : easy4men has launched". easy.com. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  17. ^ Martinson, Jane (5 May 2006). "The Big Easy enters choppy waters". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  18. ^ Starmer-Smith, Charles (29 September 2011). "Launching a new airline won't be easy for Sir Stelios". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  19. ^ Gavin Richardson (8 May 2006). "news : letter of intent signed between easyCruise and Neorion Holdings for the construction of up to 4 new cruiseships in Greece". easy.com. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  20. ^ "EasyCruise Sold to Hellenic Seaways". Cruise Industry News. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  21. ^ "Easymobile and Fresh cut prices". BBC News. 17 March 2005. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Easymobile to close down service". BBC News. 13 November 2006. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  23. ^ "Business | Easygroup launches mobile service". BBC News. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  24. ^ "EasyMobile.nl flops". The Register. 6 July 2006. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  25. ^ "Posh Richemont latest to sue Stelios". The Register. 2005-11-18. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  26. ^ "Hard cheese for Stelios in EasyPizza case". The Register. 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  27. ^ "Easy name curry house climbs down". BBC. 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  28. ^ "Winnington company forced to rebrand after easyGroup High Court threat". Northwich Guardian. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  29. ^ Robertson, David (16 August 2008). "Stelios takes easyJet to court over branding". The Times (London). Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  30. ^ Walker, Duncan (11 August 2004). "Can you 'own' a colour?". BBC News. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to EasyGroup at Wikimedia Commons

  • EasyGroup website - For group information, latest news and links to other EasyGroup companies.

Press reports[edit]