Industry veteran Andrew Dickson has made a surprise return to the trade working for Scenic Tours and River Cruises.
The founder of St Andrews Travel Group, which he sold seven years ago, is working a day a week for the company in Manchester.
Scenic managing director Chris Townson said: “We really wanted to improve our overall customer experience especially as we grow our trade sales at real pace.
“Andrew was a great fit for us after running a very successful retail travel operation with high-end product and best customer service centric to his proposition. So he knows the way the retailer works in combination with the end customer.
“Andrew also is a picture perfect of a Scenic customer – 60-plus, high-end client, demanding great service and money and time-rich.
“Rather than having a training person come in at a similar age to our own team, Andrew, being exactly the right demographic, has really brought our team to see the customer experience from his end.
“We’re already delighted with the improvements already seen in the service levels and we intend to develop and improve what we do.”
Dickson started his career in travel at the age of 21 with Arrowsmith Holidays in Majorca and went on to start Malta specialist Aquasun Holidays.
He set up St Andrews Travel in 1983 and sold out with 75 staff and had a turnover of £25 million.
Dickson said: “I have known Chris Townson for many years from his days at Jetset and Tradewinds. We met last year and he explained that Scenic Tours have been experiencing some huge growth over the last couple of years.
“We got together and found that there were several areas I could help Chris with the growth he has been experiencing.
“Because of the hugely competitive retail market, St Andrews Travel ended up dealing with only the top end of the holiday market specialising in luxury experiences, long haul travel and cruises.
“Dealing with wealthy middle aged clients needs certain skills and they are very demanding, but treat them with great customer service and they are customers for life. That is one of the areas we have been working on.”
He added: “Scenic have also decided that they want to sell through the trade and I intend helping them select the kind of agents who understand the product, which is all inclusive five star-plus.
“Working just one day a week is hardly tasking but I have been enjoying the experience and seeing the results that are already making a big difference in how we deal with both the public and agents alike.
“I have been kept busy since retirement running the local radio station Bolton FM and have other business interests, but once you have worked in travel it’s in your blood and I am thrilled to be back in it and having a ball.”
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