As any agent knows, customer service is key, and Just Ask Travel believes a personalised approach yields strong results. Charlotte Cullinan reports.
Most mornings Greig Horabin can be found dashing between the chain of fish and chip shops he owns, but by the afternoon he’s firmly ensconced in his role as director of Just Ask Travel.
After setting up the agency in 2016 with fellow director John Falcon, Horabin has developed a highly personalised approach to customer service, which has resulted in a 90% repeat booking rate.
Having both travelled extensively, the pair were keen to develop travel as a career. They received training with the first consortium they joined, before moving to the Global Travel Group in 2018. Horabin focuses on selling, while Falcon oversees administration and is also a management consultant.
“We do amazing, scintillating holidays. Everything is focused on the client and how their holiday will unfold,” Horabin explains.
Based in Fleetwood near Blackpool, the duo’s average booking value is £7,000. They specialise in long-haul and cruise, and more than half of their bookings are to the UAE. Weddings are popular and Horabin often accompanies groups at no charge to ensure their nuptials run smoothly.
Impressing customers and providing a highly personal service is central to Just Ask Travel’s philosophy, and this is especially evident in Horabin’s sleek home office. Tucked away in his garden, it boasts a desk made from an aircraft wing.
Customers are often welcomed for thoughtfully tailored appointments. They can play a game on the office snooker table or relax around the fire pit (inset).
“We hate pressure selling, so it’s all very relaxed,” Horabin adds.
Thanking clients with carefully selected presents also comes as standard. A family who were jetting off to the Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi, which is connected to the city’s Grand Prix racetrack, were sent a remote control Ferrari for their car-mad son.
Horabin says: “We’ll spend a proportion of our commission and will choose something related to where they are going. Clients are blown away.”
To ensure their high standards of customer service continue once clients are abroad, the pair only work with a select group of trusted suppliers, including Gold Medal and Simply Luxury by Travel 2.
“We work with people who we know will really look after our clients,” says Horabin. “I contact every hotel before clients arrive, and normally secure them something extra, like an early check-in.”
Horabin and Falcon choose not to draw a salary, instead investing their profits in travel to build relationships. They spend up to 12 weeks a year abroad, and alongside meeting hotel management teams, Horabin ensures there is ample time for wider networking.
“We go to amazing hotels, which are the right locations to meet new clients. I’ve even met a customer in the queue for the toilet on a plane, who went on to make £85,000 of bookings in the following weeks!”
Referral rates are high and, while the pair don’t invest in marketing, they do dedicate time to social media.
With clients’ permission, after each booking Horabin writes about their trip on Facebook, detailing all elements, with aspirational images. Clients frequently share his posts, with most reaching an audience of 1,500 to 3,000.
“Social media is such a great tool, and it enables clients to help us do marketing,” he adds. “For us, it’s all about having great fun running an extremely successful business, which enables us to continue our love of travelling.”