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The Thomas Cook London Stratford team


.THOMAS COOK, LONDON STRATFORD


ravel team and AffordableXtras’ Andrea Clayton-Norris (third right)


the postcodes of a 10,000-strong database and getting involved in local community events, has ensured a 4% year-on-year sales increase. With 60% of business being repeat customers, Go Travel’s popularity is further explained by their charity work. The agency has raised more than £7,000 for a local cancer trust, donating a pound from each travel insurance sale.


A recent move into the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre has seen the Thomas Cook team go from dated surroundings into a tech-heavy wonderland. Andrea and I are met by store manager, Peter Ryan, who proudly informs us that this agency will be the company’s flagship Discovery Store. Technology certainly plays a role in helping achieve high-end customer service too; a welcome desk running Qudini software allows the team to organise client meetings and accurately measure queuing times, while a virtual reality


headset is also available. Building relationships with past clients remains paramount – Peter still takes his best customers out to dinner while several of the team members buy Christmas presents for theirs. In-store events have already been


successful in driving revenue for the new shop too; the team invited a masseuse to give clients back and shoulder rubs resulting in bookings of £25,000. When leaving the old store, Peter organised a party and invited the agency’s best customers to come along to learn about the new location – 40 people turned up and the team made £40,000 in sales.


.ABBOTTS TRAVEL, SOUTH WOODFORD


The celebrations following Abbotts’ Top 50 win last year were marred by the news of team member Sharron Roat falling seriously ill, but despite a difficult start to the year, Sharron is back and the agency is stronger than ever. A sleek and stylish shop interior helps to create a welcoming feel, while the window display is changed regularly to ensure that it stays in sync with online activity. Danny Sperling, business


development manager, says it is compulsory for staff to complete at least two online training modules while attending supplier events is key. Staff are also encouraged to attend one fam a year and blog about the


experience, which is then shared across social media. Integrating into the local


community has resulted in an


exciting partnership with the prestigious Chigwell Golf Club and a relationship with Essex Central magazine ensures the business is promoted to a readership of 46,000. The team has begun to target


The Abbotts Travel team and, left, Andrew Doherty


areas of potential growth and utilise events such as TTG’s Luxpo and WTM to build stronger relationships with destination management companies and hotels directly; in 2016, Abbotts saw an 18% overall growth in its own packaging and a 14% increase in its business house bookings.


TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST 31


TRIVIA TRIP


MILES TRAVELLED: 50 MODES OF TRANSPORT: Car and train


TRIP HIGHLIGHT: Receiving a cake that weighed more than a small dog


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