Director Nicole Eaves is as passionate about this business today as she was when she first set it up 35 years ago with her mother.
The lead-up to this huge milestone heralded various developments for the agency including a new logo to bring the agency bang up to date in look and feel, while a £12,000 investment in technology has given staff wireless computers, so further enhancing their performance.
This high street store – named the UK & Ireland’s No.1 Travel Agency in the 2016 TTG Top 50 list – has also spent the past year developing new product, specifically with its group travel arm which originally launched in 2015 but took off in 2018 with a trip to Japan and a river cruise on the Danube both sold out. Eaves admits the numbers are small but adds the amount of conversations the programme starts – both on social media and face to face – means it is attracting further business.
Customer service is also a cornerstone of the business with everything from online check-ins to visa applications done as standard. Meanwhile, examples of going the extra mile include finding three nights’ accommodation in Venice for a party of nine whose docking was delayed and getting a long-term customer back from Spain after his self-booked Ryanair flight was cancelled.
Weekly in-house training also keeps the team of 10 staff up to speed and they communicate their knowledge by taking part in as many local events in the market town as possible, having joined an independent traders’ group. The team also donates various prizes to local charities.
All this helped Garstang grow sales yet again last year, after seeing record growth in double digits in 2017.
Closing the shop for two days and taking the entire team on a special anniversary trip to Iceland in December was very well deserved – and this enterprising team has already sold three Iceland holidays since getting back, by deploying their newly accrued destination knowledge.