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NEWS TTG TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES


TOP HOMEWORKING AGENCY


Gold Medal and Travel 2 head of accounts Clare Weatherall joined former TTG aviation editor Edward Robertson to judge this year’s homeworking category


Independent Travel Experts


About them: The nine-year-old company now employs 120 staff who drove a 30% increase in sales for 2019, with much of the growth driven by a 9% increase in average booking value. Head offi ce staff provide constant support, while an in-house customer care team assists with much of the booking administration.


What’s new? A new Vertical Systems CRM was launched in February 2019, not only making bookings easier but also enabling data capture, from top-selling destinations to top customers. Managing director Gary Gillespie joined the company in November and is already making his presence felt.


Highlight: Hearing how the agency never gives up. Having had two bookings fall through for a family with a disabled child, one agent found the perfect property for them in Malta on a fam trip.


22 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 23.03.2020


Not Just Travel


About them: With a recruitment policy favouring entrepreneurial spirit over industry experience, a two-day initial training programme followed by six weeks of handholding brings new recruits up to speed. Long-haul outweighs short- haul for the agency, which boasts a repeat booking rate of more than 50%.


What’s new? The arrival of a new sales director saw margins grow as discounting ended. A new consumer magazine, Travel Guide, launched in time for the 2020 peaks period with 50,000 copies is credited with helping grow sales by 43% in January. In addition, an autumn overhaul of the company’s data system has paid off with additional information including most popular destinations and average spends.


Highlight: Learning about a homeworker who organised a £150,000 group booking for the rugby last year impressed the client so much, he was invited


to join them for free to ensure the trip went smoothly.


Personal Travel Agents at Co-op Travel


About them: Boasting 170 agents, the eight-year-old company generated a turnover of £54 million last year. Training is key with weekly webinars covering all areas of the industry while personalised one-to-one sessions ensure agents can get help on specifi c problems. The Virtual Offi ce online forum also allows agents to get together and share their knowledge for any bookings.


What’s new? Charitable activity is growing in importance, with time given to the community now counted towards winning a place on the agency’s annual Chill VIP Trip for top performers. A greater focus on social media is paying off too, with social sales growing 15% overall while the group’s top-selling agent grew her own sales by 30% by focusing on her 40,000 followers.


Highlight: Trying on a purple “Cap of Conversion” baseball cap, given to each agent to wear during peaks.


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