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ps manager Lindsay Garvey-Jones travelled av and got stuck in sheep traffic jams


From left: Myriad Travel’s Stephanie Winfield, Tiffany Woodley and Jessica Woodley. Inset below, Lindsay Garvey-Jones (left) and Sophie Griffiths


escorted group holiday offering – personally accompanied by Nicole. The 12 staff clearly love their jobs


– most of have been at the agency between 10 and 23 years – and their focus on customer service ensures a high repeat rate. Online check-in is offered as standard, and visas are filled out on behalf of clients, while customers booking particularly high- end breaks are presented with personal gifts, which might range from bottles of champagne to Molton Brown gift sets. But it’s not just high-end bookings


that are honoured – we are particularly impressed by the (fully stocked) Prosecco fridge. All customers are offered a glass when they enter the store, even if they are just perusing brochures.


.MYRIAD TRAVEL, LIVERPOOL


The next morning, we head to Myriad Travel in the tiny village of Woolton, near Liverpool, where despite our early start we arrive late, thanks to some unhelpful suggestions from the satnav. The agency, which has previously picked up two accolades at the TTG Travel Awards, was founded in 2007, but the store only opened in June 2015 after founder Tiffany Woodley outgrew her home office.


With its dark polished floorboards, the agency has what Woodley describes as an “exotic, Asian feel”, while upstairs features a separate space that includes a plush corner sofa – this combines as a smart seating area for waiting customers as well as a room for client events. Myriad has capitalised on this,


creating a regular calendar of events for 2017 after trialling it last year to attract new clients. Its repeat rate also remains notably high at 65%, largely due to its attention to detail with client bookings. Around 28% of the business is dynamically packaged, but even when booking packages Myriad emails the hotel directly to ensure all is correct for their clients. Champagne on flights is pre-


arranged for honeymooning couples and despite having only three full-time staff, the agency operates a 24/7 service – Tiffany’s husband once even sprung into action to serve as a taxi driver at 3am when a customer’s airport transfer failed to arrive.


Aspen Travel manager Karen Allen (centre) with her team


.ASPEN TRAVEL, SALE


Construction is already under way at the back of the former bank building that is now Aspen Travel, and manager Karen Allen proudly reveals that the agency has grand plans to create a cinema for operators to host client events – an increasing area of focus for the agency. Aspen Travel was founded in 1986


but moved into its current premises two years ago. To spread the word about its new location, it has partnered with local businesses, including a wine merchant and an optician, offering vouchers in each to attract new clients. Repeat business remains high


though – up by around 15-20% in 2016 compared with 2015. The agency has


also rethought the way it contacts clients, having introduced personal “welcome home” postcards within the past six months. Training is also key for Aspen, and


the agency is keen to ensure that every member of staff attends at least one fam trip annually, even those in the back office who are not selling directly to clients. All staff then write blogs about their experience to pass on their knowledge to colleagues and clients. And their training strategy is


clearly paying off. After attending an event with a representative of the Kenya Tourist Board, Karen Allen explained what she had learnt to the rest of the staff – and the following day travel consultant Yvonne used the knowledge to help secure a £36,000 booking.


TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST 15


TRIVIA TRIP


MILES TRAVELLED: 743 MOST UNUSUAL CHARACTERS MET: The three bears SHEEP TRAFFIC JAMS: 3


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