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nal account manager, suffered snowstorms very agent to counter the winter weather


From left: Spear Travels’ Elaine Price, Isabel Lakin, Kim Kent and Jenny Westwood


.PEAKES TRAVEL ELITE, SHREWSBURY


The Peakes Travel Elite team


We meet founder Frances Peake and Claire Moore, who has just become joint shareholder, in a quaint cafe in Shrewsbury, opposite the agency, to hear how the year has gone since taking the top spot of the Central and East of England category in 2016. Rested on their laurels since


The Regent Travel team


Barrett has 30. He’s a local celebrity, in fact – drawing more than 100 punters to hear his “A year in the life of David Barrett” talk last year. This month he plans another charity talk, entitled “Around the World with an Apple Strudel Fanatic” – with proceeds going to the Katharine House Hospice. In fact, David spends most of his time taking clients abroad, and Regent has built an impressive client base of regulars, thanks in part to commercially savvy


The Spear team dressed up last summer


emails to determine clients’ destination wishlists. As well as having a rapport with their customers, there’s also a genuine team spirit among members of staff, who also share their own fam and holiday experiences – a recent honeymoon blog led to two luxury Sri Lanka bookings. After we manage to call staff together for their second photoshoot of the day, we depart for our next agency – the reigning Top 50 champs of the region.


winning? No way. Claire recently hit our screens to star in a Canada Specialist Program promotional video, and four people now operate the new concierge division – upstairs in their impressive historic building. Meanwhile, the store recently racked up a 100% Mystery Shopper score. So attention to detail remains as strong as ever, with Frances recounting one member of staff liaising with a chef onboard a Starclippers ship to work on the menu for a client with an onion allergy. As Claire says: “We’re always looking for that plus-one”. There’s going to be a bigger family focus with local event sponsorships, and 2017 will see Peakes celebrating the business’s 25th anniversary of trading with an Abta licence.


.SPEAR TRAVELS, WOLVERHAMPTON


Our final stop sees us battle a snowstorm in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, to visit Spear


Travels – via a break at the legendary Gluttons cake shop next door. Manager Kim Kent laughs at our


detour and says the shop also works wonders for her business. The team of Kim and senior travel consultants Elaine Price, Isabel Lakin, Jenny Westwood and Mandy Robinson is a close-knit one, enjoying regular nights out and supplier team training. It’s clearly paying off with Spear scooping two Mystery Shopper number ones in 2016 – and Jenny has notched up an impressive 90% in one secret review. In fact, the team doubled its turnover target in 2016. “It shows just how hard we work,” Kim tells us. Their reputation spreads far


outside the Black Country – they secured a recent wedding booking for 14 people via Facebook that originated in Scunthorpe. Closer to home, Nicola and I are moved by Elaine’s story to respond to a family’s request to organise a trip to Disneyland Paris for their one-year- old daughter who was dying of Mitochondrial Disease. She sadly passed away shortly after in August, but Spear is proud to have played a part in fulfilling the family’s wish for their daughter to become a princess.


TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST 21


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