Business basics done well normally spells success, says Miles Morgan Travel chairman Miles Morgan

The first month of 2020, that key trading period for the travel industry, is already over. I have not seen any official figures yet, but it appears to have been a good start to the year for most people and customers seem to be around in good numbers.

At Miles Morgan Travel, we have had a sensational month, both with our existing shops and our three new ones [in Stroud in Gloucestershire, and Chippenham and Devizes in Wiltshire]. Now we’ve had the initial sigh of relief that another January is over, it’s time to reflect.

New customers

The demise of Thomas Cook has certainly meant customers are unsettled, and are in the market to find a new agency to book their holidays.

After the B-word had dominated the headlines for months, it took a back seat for most of January…until the 31st. I am sure that the simple lack of noise on the subject cheered many people up and made us all a bit more positive. Holiday advertising seemed to be back with a bang on TV; it was great to put DFS into the shade! And finally, from a high street point of view, the weather was dull and boring, and no white stuff, which was perfect for attracting people into our shops.

Our figures have been so great that even these macro issues don’t fully, in my opinion, explain our January success in full. Our planning for peaks started in September, with an analysis of last January’s performance feeding into a rejuvenated marketing plan.

From this, we produced our first solo brochure for customers on our database, and new TV creatives with fresh messages designed to hit the spot. We also took our supplier engagement to another level in both understanding their latest product development and training every team member on the frontline on what is new. This approach was of huge benefit to our ex-Thomas Cook staff, who were selling suppliers they had not sold for 10 or 15 years and was certainly a massive contribution to those new shops, which had to hit the ground running.

Our social media output was stepped up and enhanced. This is a really important part of the marketing mix for 2020. Finally, our teams were focused, were aware of the company goals and had individual targets so they knew the part they needed to play, coupled with plenty of money to be earned for themselves: which is all-important for January, when they work their socks off.

Back to basics

I appreciate that none of this is revolutionary or cutting edge but, for me, business basics done well normally spells success. Taking the time to step back, assess and plan breeds good results, and this is worth remembering as it is sometimes the hard bit because we are quite often too busy managing today.

Many thanks to all our supplier partners for their efforts pre-Christmas; we hope that we have repaid your hard work with some top sales in January. Let’s hope 2020 builds into a cracking year for us all. We are now planning for the rest of the year to stay on a roll…

Podcast: Miles Morgan [April 19]