A young independent travel agent and member of TTG’s Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders has opened his third high street store in under two years.
Twenty eight-year-old David McDonald, who is managing director of World Travel Lounge, cut the ribbon on his new shop in the town of Cleveleys near Blackpool last week.
He first established the business in Birley Street in Blackpool town centre in February 2015, and within three months had opened another store in St Annes-on-Sea.
The Cleveleys store will now see World Travel Lounge taking on two new agents – boosting its number of staff to 14 across its three shops.
McDonald, who is part of the intake of 30 Under 30 members for 2016-17, said the agency’s growth heralded a “big achievement” given the short space of time it had been trading.
“We haven’t celebrated our second birthday yet so to open our third store shows how far we’ve come in not very much time at all,” McDonald said. “We look at our competitors and what we could be doing differently, so that’s helped us to grow quickly.”
The new store features a world map with digital video screens to showcase destinations, a bureau de change service and customer Wi-Fi.
Its design is similar to the company’s Birley Street store, which underwent a £5,000 refurbishment in October.
McDonald, who formerly worked for Thomas Cook, revealed that World Travel Lounge was also in the “early stages” of rolling out a franchise model in the north-west.
He also revealed hopes for World Travel Lounge to open “up to a dozen” franchised outlets in his local north-west region in the next 18 months, insisting the move would offer other travel professionals the use of his brand and support to help run their own store. “It would give them almost a pre-packaged starting point for their store,” McDonald said.
He added that his inclusion in TTG’s 30 Under 30 programme would help take the business forward into next year.
“It’s helped raise our profile massively and has given us access to contacts and events. We’re already talking about how we can partner with some of the group’s tour operators,” he said.