A former STA Travel branch manager is hoping to fill the void left by the company’s recent collapse with a new soon-to-launch youth travel brand.
Arron Mitchell, director of Platinum World Travel, has created Syte (Student & Youth Travel Escapes) to cater for the 18-30s market using his experience of working in the sector.
Mitchell, who worked for STA between 2014-2016 – during which he ran the agency’s Cheltenham store and managed its national contact centre in the US – said Syte would look to offer “an evolved product range” and “go beyond” STA’s traditional focus on backpacking trips and gap year travel.
Syte will sell youth-focused brands such as U by Uniworld, Virgin Voyages and Jet2holidays’ Vibe.
“Backpacking and gap years are still a part of the market, but we know that it’s not for everyone," said Mitchell.
“We have a huge range from working holiday visas, tours, tailor-made itineraries, river cruising and city breaks for different styles of holidays and to suit different personalities.”
Mitchell will soon begin interviews with ex-STA employees and is looking to recruit a maximum of 20 homeworkers this year.
Opportunities around opening retail premises will also be explored “when travel returns to normal”, added Mitchell, explaining how Syte would look to target customers online through its in-development website and over social media.
“STA were such a great company to work for and it’s clear how important the brand was when you look at how many people in the industry got their start with them,” said Mitchell.
“Seeing the impact the company’s collapse has had on so many has been gutting and we want to offer an opportunity for people who know the product to be able to bounce back and really hit the ground running.
“There’s still a real gap in the market for youth travel and there are plenty of opportunities for us.”