The Global Travel Group

Finding a business that neatly fits both your lifestyle and your customer's requirements can be a challenge. That's why the Global Travel Group has developed flexible operating systems that allow members to run their travel agencies how they want to, either as retail, telesales or internet operations. Charlotte Urwin reports

'People select and book their holidays in several different ways now,' explains Managing Director, Rod Bromiley. 'At Global Travel we have continually developed new technologies to allow our operators to deliver a great service from the setting that suits them best while competing with the large high street travel brands.'

Michael and Amanda Leech set up their Global Travel agency shop in Ivybridge near Plymouth in November 2002. Neither had worked as travel agents before, with Michael coming from an engineering background and Amanda from a career in banking. 'I was made redundant, which was a huge blow at the time,' recalls Michael. 'However, we realised that this was our chance to work for ourselves and began looking to invest in a suitable business.'

Michael and Amanda's ideal business was one they could be passionate about. 'We both love to travel and have used our enthusiasm to develop a loyal return customer base over the past couple of years. Running a retail operation is hard work but our business grew by 25 per cent from year one to year two and we are confident of maintaining that.'

While Michael and Amanda chose the retail route for their business, Mark Hurrell (below) from Cleadon Village, Tyne & Wear decided that an internet-based operation would suit his market better. He set up Mark's Travel in April 2004 as a home-based operation and uses his previous experience as a ski guide and sailing holiday rep to focus on long haul and activity holidays in the higher value sector of the market.

'I'd been working in customer services for a gas and electricity supplier but what I really wanted to do was run my own business and get back into the travel industry,' Mark explains. 'I chose The Global Travel Group because of the superior technology and support network they offer. Global's model also gave me the option to work from home and use new technology to reach my target customers.

'We get most of our business through our website which allows customers to book flights and accommodation online. New booking technology developed by Global is already increasing this side of the business as our customers can now book full package holidays online too.'

With no shop front to attract his customers Mark is faced with interesting marketing challenges. 'Marketing is vital to an operation like this and the support from Global has been great. They've provided special promotional leaflets free of charge and have encouraged me to target my marketing at particular groups, such as organisations that employ large numbers of people. I'm already getting repeat business and referrals from customers who come back to me because they know they'll get a great holiday at a good price.'

Rod Bromiley adds: 'Many people are attracted to a career in the travel industry and Global Travel provides the training, technology and support to allow them to realise those ambitions. Global Travel offers the keys to your very own travel agency with the promise that we'll help you to do it your way.'