Comment: Get to heart of your community

Comment: Get to heart of your community

On Sunday, I spent the day with Baldwins Travel in Tonbridge, Kent, taking part in the town’s annual Dragon Boat Race.

I was invited to join the 16-strong team by manager Trevor Ridler and his staff Tricia, Bettina and Donna. Along with agents from the miniple’s other seven branches around Kent and Sussex, and supporting tour operators Cox & Kings and Kirker Holidays, we took to the water.

We finished the day 12th out of 22 teams – but as well as being a truly fun day out, it was also a real education.

Baldwins Travel staged an absolute masterclass in how to properly ‘work’ their community. They hung a banner on the railings by the River Medway, erected a small gazebo complete with brochure racks along the towpath, and the team tirelessly handed out leaflets to local people about their new Holiday Inspirations show they are staging in a fortnight’s time.

They not only generated loads of interest in the show but also had passers-by asking about future holidays all day long – and always had a knowledgeable agent on hand to answer questions. I heard enquiries for everything from a Greece twin-centre to a trip to Prince Edward Island, and I lost count of the number of people who took a business card and said they would go to the shop the following week for a proper consultation.

There was no hard-sell. It was just the local travel agent immersing itself in the town’s activities, putting itself at the heart of the community in a fun yet professional way.

What a great example of a truly committed independent.

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