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A DAY WITH... TICKETS TRAVEL, BEXLEY VILLAGE, KENT


Amie Keeley visits the team at Tickets Travel, an original Worldchoice member that has been in business for more than 30 years


Having recently taken over a nearby business, undergone a shop refurb and hosted its own travel show, Tickets Travel is a shining example of a thriving independent high street agent.


UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL KIRSTY KITCHING


I’ve been at Tickets Travel… For 17 years. I was working at an agency in the West End and it was moving, so I decided to move back to where I’m


from and applied for the job here. We work well as a team. I enjoy… The variety of what we sell – that’s the best bit about the job. Bookings… Come in threes. We won’t sell something for months, then lots come. TV shows on destinations influence requests. The thing that has changed most in 17 years… Is technology. We haven’t got a website, but set up a Facebook page last year.


DAVID CELINO-STOCK


I’ve been at Tickets Travel… For nine years but I’ve worked in travel for 27. I started on a YTS scheme at El Al and have worked at Hogg Robinson,


Thomas Cook, Norwegian Cruise Line, Austravel and Kuoni. I like selling… Cruise. I went on cruise holidays with my parents so from then on I got to love it. We sell a lot of Med cruises with P&O, Celebrity, royal and NCL. The biggest challenge in my job… Is when operators overbook. It doesn’t happen often but you are the one who has to tell the customer and sort everything out.


The agency has been selling holidays in affluent Bexley Village, where southeast London meets Kent, since 1981. Diane Coleman has been involved in the agency since 1985, first working part-time


at its now-closed Belvedere branch, while studying for a business studies degree. She remained good friends with the owner,


and after an opportunity to open her own agency fell through, she went into partnership with him in 1995. But after just a few months, he suddenly died of a heart attack. “I didn’t know whether I wanted to stay,”


she says. “The thought of being here without Norman [the owner] was really tough. I’d known him for 10 years and his death really affected me.” While weighing up her options, Diane decided to take a year off from work and go back to college to get a teaching certificate, and employed a manager to run the shop. She was tempted back to work a few days in


the shop in between teaching stints, after being offered a VIP trip on the QE2 to New York. “Juggling the two was difficult,” says Diane. “I didn’t feel I was giving the teaching the full attention it deserved. Six months in, I thought I can’t do this. So I went back to travel completely – and have never looked back.”


Something for everyone Tickets Travel sells “a real mixture” of holidays, according to Diane’s two full-time staff, David


38 travelweekly.co.uk 22 February 2018


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