This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
SPONSORED BY


From left: Off Broadway Travel’s Paul Rice, Natalie Bennett, Tricia Conroy Smith and Jenny Abrie


honeymoons already account for a third of the agency’s business, but it has bold ambitions, hoping to attend a whopping 60 wedding fairs in 2017.


.HONEYMOON DREAMS, EDGBASTON


Founder Lakh Hayer might have started up Honeymoon Dreams in an office above his parents' agency, but this thriving specialist has now outgrown its older high street sister. We're joined on the Skype call by


three of its 14-strong team: Tom from marketing, Abi from operations, and Neil from sales. They explain the website’s crucial


role in generating business and how a recent web redesign has boosted enquiries by 50%. The smart site includes blogs written by customers


themselves, and a gift list service so friends and family can make online contributions towards a couple’s trip. Traditional wedding fairs are


important too, but we're fascinated to hear of Honeymoon Dreams’ sleek, black stand, which stands out from other travel companies exhibiting, and proves successful in attracting the grooms while their brides-to-be are looking at hair and make-up! With revenue up 25% last year and


average booking value up by £1,000, this forward-thinking agency is flying. But clever marketing and business growth has not come at the expense of customer service: we’re impressed to hear about its 9.7 rating on TrustPilot, and to hear of the lengths one consultant recently went to for a client with deafness and partial blindness.


.OFF BROADWAY TRAVEL, WELWYN When this agency moved from north London, via Knebworth House, to Welwyn in Hertfordshire, its client base was so big that they didn't open their doors to local customers. But such has been the demand in the village that the agency has had to welcome walk-in business after all. Business partners Tricia and Paul,


who’ve worked together for 30 years, tell us how weddings and honeymoons make up almost a third of the agency’s sales, with many of those customers being turned into lifelong clients. The agency is clearly at the heart of its local community too, with consultants often being invited to the wedding receptions of the wedding and honeymoon clients they’ve booked. Tricia’s background as a lecturer


has led to a very strong focus on education; we’re impressed to hear that consultants might take up to four fam trips a year in work time, and have also been known to create their own bespoke fam itineraries for destinations they’re less familiar with. The pair proudly show off their


Honeymoon Dreams staff at their office in Edgbaston


Travel by Appointment room, which was designed by Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen in a Beachcomber competition. We’re also thrilled to meet OB Bear, the agency’s cuddly mascot, who appears to have mastered opposable thumbs enough to have his own Twitter account.


LEAH SAYS…


“Our love affair with travel agents began decades ago and our relationships


continue to grow


and strengthen, so it was a pleasure to be involved in recognising the industry’s shining stars. The competition was tough, which is a testament to the talent out there. We were very impressed by the innovation displayed and the attention to detail of all the finalists. It is easy to see why they were shortlisted and have such high customer loyalty. Our news includes opening a


new over-the-water wedding chapel at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica, with 360-degree views of the Caribbean Sea and a glass-floor aisle. We will open a second chapel at Sandals Grande Saint Lucia Resort & Spa in May. Over-the- water bungalows are also coming soon to Sandals South Coast, to be reached via a heart-shaped pier: perfect for weddingmooners.”


TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST


39


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48