Swords Travel to open first shop and golf brand

Juliet Dennis

Swords Travel has set its sights on three shops in five years as it prepares to open its first retail premises and unveils plans for a golf brand and revamped website. Te upmarket travel agency

is set to open its first high street shop in central Wimbledon in mid-August and aims to open two more in affluent towns in southwest London and Surrey. Te agency was set up in June

2016 and ran from Mark Swords’ home for the first 18 months before moving to its current offices in Wimbledon Park, where it hosts appointments with clients. Te new agency, on Merton Road,

will include three desks, a seating area with an espresso bar, and an ‘inspiration’ counter for clients to chat with staff or browse holidays in brochures or online. For the first year, the agency

plans a different destination theme each month, complemented by supplier presentations for clients. Swords said: “We want to engage

with the local community. Hopefully clients will come in for a chat; I don’t want the desks to be a barrier.”

Designer Travel launches Facebook deals for teachers

Designer Travel has created a Facebook page for schoolteachers seeking holidays with term-time pricing. Te page contains luxury offers and tour operator deals – exclusive

8 11 JULY 2019 Owners

Stuart (left) and Mark

Swords, with Francesca Stevenson (left) and

Sarah Reeves We really want to

engage with the local community. Hopefully clients will come in for a chat

Te new luxury golf brand,

Swords Golf Travel, launched this week with its own website, Swordsgolſ, and is targeting £500,000 turnover in the first year. It will work with operators and

create tailor-made golfing holidays under its own Atol, specialising in long-haul. Brand sales manager Sean Gay will be based at the Wimbledon store, which will feature the golf brand in its window. Meanwhile, the agency’s new

website will feature a refreshed logo and more content about staff trips. “We want to shout about the trips

we’ve done, and tell clients how it works when you book a holiday and the effort that goes into it. [We want] to change the perception [some have] of agents,” said Swords.

Saga confirms Titan and Destinology are not for sale

Te head of Saga’s travel divisions has confirmed the company has no immediate plans to sell its Titan and Destinology brands. Tere had been speculation

the over-50s specialist had hired financial advisory firm Duff & Phelps to explore a possible sale of the brands earlier in the year. Titan Travel, an escorted touring

brand, and Destinology, a luxury operator, are two of Saga’s four travel brands. It also operates Saga Cruises and Saga Holidays. Saga Travel chief executive

Robin Shaw said: “At this moment in time, there are no plans to do anything. All businesses review their strategies, but at this point in time they are staying with us.” Last month, group chief executive

Lance Bachelor announced he would step down in January aſter shares in the group fell by almost 40% in April following a profit warning. “We’re in unprecedented times

with Brexit and all the political uncertainty,” Shaw said. “Tat doesn’t help confidence, which doesn’t help travel booking, especially to short-haul destinations. “But the propensity for travel

will remain and grow.” Saga launched its first new-build

ship, Spirit of Discovery, last week. i Special Report, page 12

to the agency – including for families and couples, with prices relevant to school holiday dates. About four or five new deals are posted each week. Te Lancashire-based travel

agency aims to tap into demand from teachers for school holiday offers where the “price you see is the price you pay”. Managing director Amanda

Mathews said: “Te feedback we’ve had from people with restricted

holiday times is they see all these lead-in prices, but when they enquire they find the holidays are a lot more expensive in school holidays. “It’s been more successful than

expected and we’ve made more in revenue than we have spent on it.” Te Designer Travel Teachers

page, launched about a month ago, is being sent to a targeted list of teachers on Facebook and already has more than 250 likes.

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