Deals Malta website to go live end June
Deals Malta, a new portal listing limited-time offers on a wide range of products and services, is to go live at the end of June.
The website, at dealsmalta.com.mt, is designed as an added marketing tool for businesses running campaigns with varied objectives. Customers, in turn, benefit from discounts of at least 50 per cent on a range of offers on anything from beauty treatments to technology.
Deals Malta is the project of public relations professional Sharon Plunkett, the operator of Deals Ireland, who turned to an Irish prime- time TV show to raise the necessary capital for her latest venture.
Ms Plunkett, who knows Malta well through her 17-year career with the Malta Tourism Authority in Ireland, had just one attempt at pitching her Deals Malta portal project to five well-known entrepreneurs on RTE One’s Sunday night Dragon’s Den in January.
More accustomed to advising other people on how to polish their pitches, Ms Plunkett ventured out of her comfort zone in a bid to clinch the €25,000 she needed. Show number seven in the series featuring Ms Plunkett’s pitch aired on April 22.
“I’m glad I did it,” she told The Sunday Times. “I saw an advert on TV last November and an interview with the production team was scheduled for a few weeks later. I was offering 15 per cent of the business to the investor. All the contestants had to be really well prepared – some of the questions the panel members asked were very specific.”
Ms Plunkett’s pitch won the support of entrepreneur Norah Casey, owner and chief executive of Harmonia, Ireland’s largest magazine publishing company. Ms Casey was keen to develop online platforms to complement some titles and saw potential in Woman’s Way magazine partnering Deals Ireland, which only launched last year. But she wanted 30 per cent of all Ms Plunkett’s deals website projects, a proposal which translated into €50,000 in advance support.
The format for Deals Malta is straightforward: Every deal features on the website four times a week between Monday and Thursday offering goods and services at half price or even cheaper than the regular retail price. Side deals related to the main deals will also be listed.
Website users simply purchase the deal online using credit cards over Paypal – debit cards will be accepted in a few months’ time – print the voucher, and then present it to the retailer or service provider to redeem it.
Ms Plunkett explained how Deals Malta offered businesses added visibility in launch campaigns for any product or service. Offering deals online was also useful to businesses seeking to up-sell in association with related products, move excess stock, market spare capacity like hotel rooms or venues in low season, or create general awareness.
Deals Malta takes a percentage of each deal sold; the portal does not involve any advertising.
The project will be run by newly appointed general manager Sarah Dunne, who will be based in Dublin from where customer services will be offered, but who will spend considerable time directing the sales team in Malta.
The portal is currently being finalised in collaboration with Ogilvy Malta. Under an agreement with Allied Group, a link to Deals Malta will feature on time sofmalta.com’s homepage.
“Everybody loves a good deal,” Ms Plunkett stressed. “There are 50-odd deals websites in Ireland for a population of four million. Because the market is so saturated back home, Deals Ireland will now specialise in special offers for the active retirement market. There are other deals sites in Malta but Deals Malta’s competitive advantage will be the knowledge and experience gained in another, much larger, market.”
One of Deals Malta’s unique selling propositions will be its planned targeting of Irish and UK travellers. Ms Plunkett explained that thanks to its team’s market knowledge and the expertise of a Malta-based sales team, the website will be able to list a range of deals for hotel stays and other tourism-related services to non-Maltese users more accustomed to buying and using vouchers.
Ms Plunkett is confident Deals Malta will strike a chord with local businesses and consumers and hopes to bring 200 retailers and service providers on board in the project’s first year.
“Deals websites have become a key feature in marketing strategies in Ireland,” she explained. “They help drive the market place by beginning a chain of word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat business.
“Ireland and Malta have similar cultures. Deals Ireland fares well in a competitive environment, so we are excited about getting Deals Malta off the ground next month.”