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Romance was in the air when Sandals’ Leah Marshall and TTG’s Pippa Jacks video-interviewed the five weddings and honeymoons finalists from the comfort of the training room at Sandals’ swish new Kensington store


Oasis Travel’s Julie-Ann Vaughan is the first agent in the hotseat, answering our questions from the Portfolio Suite of Oasis Travel’s Lisburn office. Julie-Ann explains how she

launched this VIP consultation lounge 12 years ago, proving invaluable for wedding, honeymoon and luxury bookings – so much so that a Portfolio Suite has now been added at two more of Oasis’s five branches. Honeymoons are a significant and

growing part of Oasis’s business, and Julie-Ann and colleagues attend several carefully selected wedding fairs each year and have even organised their own wedding show with the help of operator partners. It’s clear Oasis Travel’s agents are at the heart of their community, and we’re amused to hear how Julie-Ann once picked up a Dubai proposal-trip booking while on the treadmill at the gym. Attention to detail, such as sending documentation in branded leather wallets, sounds like exactly the sort of service that has led to Oasis Travel being

voted “best honeymoon provider” for three years on the trot by Northern Ireland’s Wedding Journal.


Next to face a grilling are Trevor Ridler, branch manager of Baldwins’ Tonbridge branch, and group director Nick Marks. We’re interested to hear how

Trevor’s success in coordinating a cruise strategy across the group’s 11 branches means he is now doing the same for weddings and honeymoons, with each store to gain its own specialist. Trevor and colleagues have been

attending more wedding fairs to generate leads, and held their own themed evenings in-store for clients, with operator support. Trevor’s systematic approach to

keeping in touch with clients in the run up to and upon return from their wedding or honeymoon has helped him grow this sector by an impressive third compared to last year in the Tonbridge store. One husband was so

grateful to be sent an ‘anniversary reminder’

Leah Marshall (left) withTTG’s Pippa Jacks

card that he came in and booked an anniversary trip on the Orient Express to Venice. Sadly Trevor and Nick don’t score

extra marks for dressing up in a veil and Hawaiian shirt to be interviewed – but we very much appreciate the effort.


Next up are Nick Harding McKay and James Whitaker-Sheppard of Travel Designers in south London, who sent in a box of the cupcakes they often send to wedding and honeymoon clients for us to try during the interview (delicious, but scoring no extra points). They describe other thoughtful touches they do to stand out, such as a mini-bottle of champagne for clients to take home, posh teabags sent out with a quote to

The Baldwins Travel team at last year’s Holiday Inspirations show

encourage clients to sit down and discuss it, and a framed wedding photo delivered to the couple’s room when they arrive on honeymoon. Despite the team’s small size, Nick

encourages as many educational trips as possible to gain first-hand knowledge, and they leverage trips by posting on social media and creating video content while they’re there. This level of product knowledge, combined with extra-special service, has helped Travel Designers rack up a near- perfect customer feedback score on Feefo. Weddings and

Oasis Travel’s Julie Ann Vaughan welcomes clients in the Portfolio Suite 38

The Travel Designers team; inset above, TTG’s Pippa Jacks unveils the cupcakes TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST

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