How are the 12 different regions defined?
We have created a list of the different counties and placed them into the appropriate regions that are listed in the Top 50 initiative.
Who can enter the awards?
The 12 regional categories are for UK-based, leisure-focused agencies. These categories are open to any store-based travel retailers including independent travel agencies, and multiple-store agencies such as Flight Centre, Thomson and Thomas Cook.
The six nation-wide categories are for agencies, or teams within larger agencies that specialise in or sell significant amounts of luxury, weddings and honeymoons, business travel or cruise, and for agencies or teams within agencies that operate on a homeworking or online/call centre model.
What’s new for 2017?
We have added two more regional categories this year, taking it from 10 to 12. The Weddings & Honeymoons category is also new, and we have combined the Online Agency and Call Centre Agency categories into simply ’Online Agency’, which is open to any UK travel agency which either transacts on its website or uses its website as a significant driver of enquiries.
How are the shortlists created?
The first stage in the process involves a panel of 30 to 40 agent-facing suppliers (who work closely with agents) rating all those agencies that wish to be considered for the Top 50 list.
For the 12 regional categories, the suppliers will rate each contender on a scale of 1-5, taking into consideration not just sales performance in the last 12 months but also sales growth, innovation, and commitment to working together. The five best-rated agencies in each region will form the shortlists. The shortlisted five stores will be visited for an assessment.
For the 6 nationwide categories, a panel of suppliers will again rate the agencies that wish to be considered. The five best-rated will form the shortlists. The shortlisted five will then face a Skype of FaceTime interview.
What happens during a regional store assessment?
Store managers must be willing to welcome a TTG journalist and a supplier partner to visit their store for approximately two hours, for their store and team to be photographed, and to be happy to speak frankly with the journalist about business performance, marketing initiatives, team culture etc (any sensitive information will remain confidential).
Further details and guidelines will be sent before the visit takes place.
The journalist and supplier will give scores against these criteria, to decide which three of the five stores will earn a place on the Top 50 list, and which single store will be crowned ’top’ in that region.
What happens during the Skype/FaceTime interviews with the nationwide finalists?
A panel of a TTG journalist/s and representatives from the category’s sponsor will arrange a Skype or FaceTime interview so that we can meet the management/team of the shortlisted agencies. We’ll ask questions about business performance, marketing and customer service. Further details and guidance will be sent before the visit takes place.
The scores given by the judges will decide which two of the five shortlisted agencies in each category will ultimately earn a place in the Top 50 list, and which single agency will be crowned ’top’ in that category.
Which suppliers take part in the rating process?
Suppliers who rate high street stores in each of the 12 regional categories will work with and have knowledge of the agencies in that region. Suppliers who rate the agencies in the six nation-wide categories will work with and have knowledge of the agencies in that category, ie luxury operators and hoteliers will rate luxury travel agencies; cruise lines will rate cruise agencies; airlines and relevant business travel suppliers will rate business travel agencies.
Click here to see which companies took part in the rating stage in 2016.
We ask suppliers to only give a rating to an agency if they have worked with it recently. This means smaller and newer agencies stand just as good a chance of doing well as longer-established and large agencies.
Who will attend the awards night on March 13, 2017?
One representative of each of the 60 shortlisted stores and each of the 30 shortlisted nation-wide agencies will receive a complimentary ticket to attend the event. Further tickets for colleagues can be purchased via our tickets page. We will endeavour to seat agent colleagues together where possible - let us know if you’re attending with friends. Suppliers are also invited to buy tickets and host tables.