Meon Valley Travel has used a visit from its local MP to spread the news about it being a TTG Top 50 award-winning agency.
Owner James Beagrie filmed an interview with East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds after the Petersfield agency was named TTG Top 50 Top Agency South East 2021 at last month’s TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies awards.
Beagrie said: “Following the award, our group marketing manager Andy Jones said the local MP has a big social media reach, and that we could piggyback on that. We just picked up the phone to his office – we interviewed him, and he interviewed us.”
The video interview, posted to YouTube, was promoted through Hinds’ Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as his parliamentary office, generating “20,000-plus” views.
During the interview, Hinds said the agency was an interesting proposition on the high street, offering leisure and business travel services, as well as emergency medical travel.
“People see the high street business, the holiday and leisure business, but would never know about all the other complexities of your operation that sit behind that,” said Hinds.
The MP revealed his holiday would be a road tour of England this year, but he was looking forward to getting abroad “before too long”.
Away from the camera, Beagrie said the MP “pretty much stuck to the party line”, adding the business had been “hugely flattered” by the TTG award. “It’s a vote from our peers," he said.
He said the agency had “gone national” in its digital reach following the accolade, but stressed: “We want to make sure the locals know they have this winner on their doorstep – why should they go anywhere else?
"People have congratulated me when I have walked down the street. It’s reminded people we are open and on the business travel side – it’s reduced leakage from our corporate clients.”
During the pandemic, Meon Travel has increased its marketing team from two to five, having asked itself: “Do we flee, or do we fight?”.
“The only thing we have to look after is our reputation, because we can’t look after the bank balance,” Beagrie said.
He predicted the agency sector would emerge “stronger and more dynamic” after the pandemic, adding agents had proved their worth during the crisis – particularly on the financial protection side. "Who would have imagined a year ago the safest place to put your money would have been with a travel agent?" he said.