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TOP TRAVEL AGENCY NORTHERN IRELAND


TTG features reporter Andrew Doherty and Riviera Travel’s key account Guiness, copious snacks and incredible travel agencies when they visi


have been highly successful too; a Carl Frampton Las Vegas fight package resulted in 35 bookings. In an effort to establish the business in the local community, pupils and parents of the nearby primary and nursery schools are invited in-store every Christmas for an educational day. The team’s excellent customer


.KNOCK TRAVEL, BELFAST


It’s three years since I moved from Belfast to London and I’ve obviously grown soft in my London ways - it’s freezing in Belfast! So Riviera’s Tom Morgan and I are grateful to reach Knock Travel to escape the cold. Owner Doreen McKenzie greets us


warmly and leads us into into a cosy conference room adorned with awards and accolades – a 2007 TTG “Award for Excellence” among them. Knock Travel was founded on April


Fool’s Day 1990 and has since gone from strength to strength. With more than 350 years of combined team travel experience, it’s no surprise that the business is performing well – in 2016, the store managed a turnover of more than £6 million. Corporate travel is accountable for


70% of sales, with lucrative public sector contracts, but ensuring exceptional customer service in retail travel remains one of the firm’s priorities. A 24-hour emergency service is available with staff assisting clients even after work hours. With a growing digital presence via


Facebook – it boasts 3,900 likes – and a revamped website, Knock Travel is attracting younger clients. “New ideas are always embraced


as long as they benefit the customer, the company and staff,” Doreen says.


.CLUBWORLD TRAVEL, BEERSBRIDGE ROAD, BELFAST


10


Just a short jaunt away is Clubworld TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST


(L-r): Lauren Campbell, Lyndsey Martin and Alex Steele at Clubworld Travel, Beersbridge Road


Knock Travel boss Doreen McKenzie (centre) with her team


Travel. I’m impressed straight away by its minimal layout, bright colours and sleek black consultation desks. Established in 2012, store manager Lyndsey Martin informs us that this store has seen sales grow 20% each year since inception. Day-to-day training is vital, with


the four permanent staff taking to the internet whenever they find the time. Educational trips are also important; the team is encouraged to share experiences on the branch’s Facebook page, which reaches an audience of more than 8,500. Impressively, Facebook bookings now account for 80% of sales and the team has done well to boost its online presence. In 2016, the number of likes increased by a staggering 3,000. Online offers


service is rewarded through the store’s repeat business: some 50% of new clients are referrals. Indeed, one recommendation resulted in a stag booking for 37 people.


.STEWART TRAVEL, BELFAST


The CastleCourt branch of Stewart Travel started trading in February 2015 and is the company’s first store outside Scotland. Store manager, Dougie Muir, is positively bursting with passion and eager to point out the various successes enjoyed by the store already. “You might think that with


CastleCourt it is all just bucket and spade, but actually we do some great business here,” he says. As a result, the store saw sales and profit soar by 40% in 2016. Going above and beyond is


standard too. Dougie recalls a time when an elderly client’s wife died in resort in Bulgaria. “His two sons were desperate to get out there to be with him, so I sent them home to pack, sorted the flights and then took their tickets to them.”


TRIVIA TRIP


MILES TRAVELLED: 485 PINTS OF GUINNESS CONSUMED: 5 NUMBER OF TIMES THE WORD “WEE” WAS USED: +50


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