Recession busters: St Andrews Travel, Bolton

Recession busters: St Andrews Travel, Bolton

St Andrews Travel in Bolton has discovered that finding new wallet-friendly ways of developing staff and attracting customers has paid off during the economic downturn.

Retail development manager Janet Whittingham believes training staff is more important than ever in tough times. The agency has been working with Training for Travel and the management team has completed leadership NVQs and management level 4 qualifications.

A regular client who is a professional trainer has also lent a hand by conducting a ‘back to basics’ training session with staff.

“Training doesn’t have to cost you money,” said Whittingham. “If you’ve got people who left school with very little then it’s a great ­opportunity for them. Training really gives them a boost in difficult times.”

The company has just installed Travel TV across its three shops. The system gives staff access to more than 300 travel channels, which customers can request to watch. “Clients love it and staff are learning a lot from it as well,” saidWhittingham.

The agency, which was bought by South African hotel owner Zorgvliet in 2005, has also been hosting luxury and cruise evenings.

“We had our most successful evening yet in September. We got bookings for Wendy Wu and South Africa and managed to bring back clients we hadn’t seen for ages. Having the evenings in our shop rather than a hotel saves money and has been much more successful.”

Staff have also worked hard to generate free PR for the agency. General manager Carmel Alexander has a regular slot on BBC Radio Manchester, and the agency runs competitions in conjunction with a local shopping centre.

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