A focus on technology in 2018 has paid off for Colchester-based Gray Dawes Group, which has a further four offices across the UK.
A new “Amazon-easy” booking tool introduced in August has revolutionised the business, giving customers the opportunity to make, cancel, hold and amend bookings at the touch of a button, and has driven client bookings online up by 18%. It has also given clients full control over their itineraries and opened up a host of popular additional services, for instance car transfer bookings grew by 700% through the site within two months of service launch.
The company’s staff of about 165 are very much prepared to go the extra mile for their clients, including flying a feather from India to New York for a fashion show, and helping a foreign footballer’s wife find her way round Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on the phone, as recent examples.
Gray Dawes is also looking to grow further. The TMC won about £20 million in new business in 2018 (excluding via the acquisitions it made), and invested in growing the sales team from three to nine, introducing a new structure and commercial director.
While it is chasing strong growth, Gray Dawes remains choosy about the clients it works with to ensure it delivers the best service. Last year, the agency walked away from a tender for £3.5 million because the potential client was not viewed as a good fit for GDG.
In a barnstorming year, the agency recorded revenues of £120 million for 2017/18, up £31 million on the previous year, and staff are confident of hitting the £200 million target set for 2019/20.
Staff do as much for the local community as they do their customers, with the team at Colchester HQ helping out at a local summer camp for disadvantaged youths, and raising a further £4,000 for a separate local charity.
A commitment to nurturing the next generation of business travel consultants also sees Gray Dawes Group run a mentoring scheme, while an apprenticeships programme has four recruits – with three full-time members of staff having already graduated.