Blue Bay Travel was started in its chief executive’s garage 15 years ago and has just celebrated its “best ever January”.
It now has 75 staff, with 10 recruited in the past year after investment from a private equity company. Seven of the team work from home.
Blue Bay works with an external company to create tailor-made training programmes for its staff, and promotes within the company where possible. Last year, it started to create video records from peer-led training sessions that can be accessed by people off-site.
The agents go above and beyond to boost their product knowledge. One cruise fanatic arranges to visit ships while on her own holidays.
Last August, Blue Bay launched its luxury brand, Exclusivity. With personalisation ever-more important, it has looked at what makes customers tick and has split them into 12 categories to create more accurate marketing messages. The marketing team sits in on sales training so it understands the business across all touch points.
The OTA has been using new software to follow up on abandoned carts and disappointing responses to quotes. It believes it has “recaptured” £6,000 of commission since the system was introduced. Unsuccessful conversions are followed up by email and the results fed into training.
Blue Bay has a huge Facebook following of almost 220,000 Likes, and social media enquiries are monitored by a member of the website’s live chat team at all times; the goal is to have a dedicated sales team for this channel.
As part of its CSR commitment, Blue Bay has been raising mental health awareness and making free support resources available to staff.
A strategic approach to training included a focus last year on upselling, which has led to average booking value increasing by £50.