'Play to your strengths'

Sharing Global Travel Group's commitment to customer service, Simon Collinge and his partners are providing a personal touch to the travel industry. Global Travel Group Marketing Manager Neil Osthoff highlights their progress so far

Before opening their travel agent branch under the Ask Global Travel brand, Simon Collinge and son Alan owned a cleaning and disaster restoration franchise for 15 years.

'We decided it was time for a change,' reveals Alan, whose wife Kristy has also become a partner in the new business. 'The franchise contracts had become too onerous and the job required us to be on call 24/7.'

The Global Travel Group gives members instant access to the industry, which Alan believes is essential. 'Opening our own travel agency is not something we would have contemplated without becoming a member of The Global Travel Group,' he explains. 'We have all the support we need, with the freedom to do it our own way.'

The majority of the business they receive comes through repeat bookings and referrals. 'Our motto: 'We go the extra mile so you can go further', is a vital part of our business,' reveals Alan. 'We pride ourselves on being a traditional travel agent and providing the personal touch to our customer service. When our customers return from their holidays they receive a bunch of flowers and a feedback letter, which they return to tell us about their holiday. We have also gained considerable coverage in the local free newspapers, with editorial slants such as 'How to get the best value holiday'.'

Ask Global Travel is one of the many agents who have signed up to the Group ATOL and is finding it of great benefit to the business. 'We sell a broad range of holidays and find that the Group ATOL gives us great flexibility and competitiveness in the market,' Alan reflects. 'The packaging holds a significant percentage of our business.'

Alan, Simon and Kristy are looking to steadily develop the business over the next two to three years. 'Our aim,' reflects Alan, 'is to specialise in being specialists.'

Now that Ask Global Travel is in its third year of business, Alan's advice to new members is: 'Play to your strengths, find your niche and ensure your existing customers are happy.'