What strikes you first on walking into Spear Travels in the village of Tettenhall in Wolverhampton is its warmth – created through a combination of bright colours and soft furnishings and helped by the wide smiles of the agents behind the desks, along with the aroma of perfume, which is a deliberate addition thought up by branch manager Kim Kent.
Customers are always offered a drink and a seat, and their eyes might be drawn to a large TV at the back of the store, displaying a slideshow of images from one loyal customer’s travels around the world.
The shop has been totally redecorated recently and the lights rewired to add to the inviting atmosphere and make more of Kim’s elaborate window displays. An extra desk has been added, such has been the agency’s success since becoming part of the Spear network of branches five years ago – after 40 years in Tettenhall under a different brand. The large room upstairs, meanwhile, has been decorated and launched as a 20-seat space for client presentations.
The agents’ knowledge is wide, with one team member having worked as an agent in that premises for 26 years. Kim is keen on education to keep the staff’s knowledge at the cutting edge, and as well as training from Spear’s head office every two weeks, she regularly invites tour operators in to share knowledge, with 40 such sessions taking place last year.
Customer service is at the forefront too. Team members will set up WhatsApp groups with customers and follow them on their journeys. Spear sends welcome home letters to every customer, and will contact the hotel of every client booked to ask for them to be well taken care of. These touches seem to be paying off too, with the agency boasting a 75% repeat customer rate.
The agency is active on social media which has led to many new enquiries, including from one gentleman whose 30th wedding anniversary booking had fallen through at the last minute. He was invited in and rebooked within hours, and pledged to be a customer for life thereafter.