This family-run business has been selling travel for more than 28 years, with mother and son duo Marie and Paul Gallagher heading up a team of seven agents.
Treating clients like friends is the name of the game for staff at Downe Travel, who wouldn’t think twice about contacting a hotel directly to surprise customers with a room upgrade or a bottle of champagne.
Examples of outstanding customer service include an occasion when senior travel consultant Patricia McCawl booked a client in her 80s on a trip to London, including all extra activities such as the theatre and museum visits while ensuring every stage of the holiday was wheelchair-friendly.
This level of care has seen Downe Travel amass a multitude of positive reviews, including an average score of 4.8/5 (based on 88 reviews) on Facebook and 5/5 on Google. Word of mouth and positive referrals have ensured clients from as far afield as the Republic of Ireland come to Downe Travel to book.
Over the past 12 months, the agency has bolstered its reach on social media. A quirky “I’m a fan” incentive saw clients receive a Downe-branded Chinese-style fan to take on holiday. Each customer who took a picture with it in their destination was entered into a draw to win £500. This garnered Downe 1,500 new Facebook followers in a month.
To capitalise on the earning potential of the cruise market, the business has developed a separate section on its website and on Facebook called Cruise Club NI – a one-stop shop for clients looking to book a cruise holiday. In four months, the Facebook page generated more than 783 new followers.
The team has also tapped into the power of Instagram, posting picture-led offers to more than 1,600 followers – a Disneyland holiday package produced 26 bookings.
Standout charity efforts include sponsoring prizes at a fashion show for suicide awareness charity Pips, and working with a local nun, Sister Mary Delargy, by contributing funds to help buy a petrol-powered electric generator for a car wash business in Zambia, which will support six families.