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Five luxury travel agencies were out to impress ttgluxury editor April Hutchinson and Lee Barker, One&Only’s director, leisure sales, during a series of video interviews


There was an impressive turnout for the Skype call to this Uttoxeter- based independent agency with three of the company’s seven staff joining in – Sue Richardson, Claire Bell and Mel Sallis. Our eagle-eyed judges also noticed

the strategically placed poster behind the trio showing that Journeys a la Carte had been shortlisted for the TTG Top 50. The Aito member has been in business for 20 years and all of the staff (bar one relative newcomer) has at least 10 years’ experience. The agency, which is based in a first floor office, specialises in tailormade travel and enjoys an impressive repeat booking rate of 85%. Improving product knowledge is

vital for the team with staff going on a minimum of one educational a year. When an agent returns from a trip they give a presentation to their colleagues, while comments and details about destinations are recorded in a “little black book” for future reference. A separate book is also used for customer comments. Using pictures from fam trips also

forms the backbone of the agency’s social media strategy to entice customers. Other marketing efforts

Team at the Designer Travel conference Lee Barker and April Hutchinson put finalists through their paces The agency offers a concierge

service to customers, offering “wee touches” to make clients’ holidays more special, such as ensuring hotels know about anniversaries or birthdays, as well as recommending and booking restaurants for them. They obviously have a loyal

The Journeys a la Carte team

have included teaming up for an event with a local fashion store and regularly taking part in local radio programmes.


Expertise, knowledge and trust are just three of the buzzwords used by Elaine Tait to explain the philosophy of this longstanding agency in the affluent Glasgow suburb of Giffnock. The agency will be celebrating its

40th anniversary in 2018 and its staff have collectively clocked up an impressive 180 years of experience in the travel industry. It’s not just about booking holidays at Kenneth Macleod Travel, as Elaine also takes clients on escorted trips on luxury cruise lines such as

The Kenneth Macleod Travel team outside their Giffnock store 34

Silversea every year. TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST

following with a repeat booking rate of 90% and somewhat rarely among agencies, KM offers a referral programme which rewards customers who recommend a friend by putting them into a draw to win free accommodation. Marketing initiatives include an

annual magazine, a golf day at a local club, and “ladies lunches” several times a year where existing clients can bring along a friend (and potential new customer).


Co-founder Amanda Matthews’ enthusiasm for her business shines through on the video call, despite making her second appearance before the TTG Top 50 judges in as many days (Designer Travel also made the shortlist in the homeworking category). She explains her business model,

which is helmed by an upmarket shop in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, and a UK-wide team of 51 homeworkers. The retail shop is deliberately

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