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street in the town of Wallingford. Full Circle, which first opened a high

street shop in 2008, is planning to move in April, with the new shop to feature a reference library of travel publications and guidebooks. Using Travefy has also helped the

team create slicker-looking quotes. Another impending change will be a website redesign including a “mood board” using images of art, furniture and food to establish what kind of hotels clients prefer. Service is built around a customer

Niall Douglas, Full Circle Travel

from the US for a family staying in the Caribbean. Designer Travel operates a series of

designed not to look like a travel agency, with chandeliers, slate floor and laptops, in order to appeal to an upmarket clientele. It also acts as an admin centre for the homeworkers. The philosophy is only to sell genuine luxury products, especially family holidays, honeymoons and tailormade itineraries. But booking the trip is just the

start of the process, with homeworkers dealing with all sorts of requests from clients: examples include flying out Brussels sprouts for a Christmas dinner in Anguilla or importing a specific brand of nappies

well-resourced annual marketing campaigns that help to keep homeworkers in regular contact with their customers, as well as having impressive email software that allows for very personalised marketing. The strategy is paying off, with

sales up 15% last year and shooting up by 35% during the peak month of January. Existing customers are also encouraged to recommend friends through a rewards system with cashback firm Quidco.


There is plenty going on at this Oxfordshire-based independent agency as owner Niall Douglas excitedly talks about the imminent move to bigger premises across the

relationship management system which creates a series of touch- points with the client following a booking, which includes courtesy calls every three months, asking about add-ons such as airport parking, and a welcome home call. Offering a 24-hour service means

staff are sometimes working in the small hours to fix problems, such as having to move a customer from a hotel affected by a forest fire in Guatemala following a late-night phone call.


Using split-screen technology, we manage to speak to two Holidaysplease directors, Richard Dixon and Charles Duncombe, at once. The Birmingham-based company

sells holidays through its network of 66 homeworkers who have an average of 15 years’ experience in travel. The most popular luxury

destinations include the Indian Ocean trio of the Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles, as well as the Caribbean,

Far East and Hawaii, with increasing demand for bespoke tours around regions such as South America. Charles explains the philosophy is

“very customer-led” and they will book what the customer wants, even if that is the occasional three-star hotel, although they will “wrap five- star service” around any booking. There is also a concierge at HQ who

arranges “little extras” to enhance clients’ holiday experience, such as ensuring the right pillows are used in hotel rooms, or even organising for petals to be laid for a bride to walk on during a wedding in Las Vegas. Another initiative is the recent

purchase of Holidaysplease’s own luxury villa in Spain, which can be used by both staff and clients.


“We’re delighted to support TTG’s Top 50 Travel Agencies again this year.

We are dedicated

to supporting the travel trade and recognising those that are leading the way in the field. One&Only Resorts is synonymous with luxury, so the Top Luxury Agent category was a must. We were presented with a real

breadth of agencies, all showing how they go above and beyond for clients and staff. Their innovation, talent and passion was a joy to see. This year One&Only Resorts

will reopen One&Only Ocean Club after six months of closure after hurricane Matthew, while One&Only Reethi Rah completed a $24 million refurbishment of its amazing villas. One&Only Le Saint Geran will undergo a major refurbishment between February and December. We’ve got two new resorts opening this year too – in Bahrain and Sanya in China.”

The Holidaysplease team TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST 35

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