Dawson & Sanderson plans to reveal a “subtle refresh” of its brand early next year as part of a drive to attract new customers and raise its profile.
The northeast miniple also aims to build supplier relationships to tap into opportunities for staff training.
Managing director Annelene Hutton spoke to Travel Weekly about the plans after the agency’s one-day conference in Newcastle.
The event included presentations by Virgin Voyages, Do Something Different, Wendy Wu Tours, Gold Medal and Tui.
“Dawson & Sanderson has kept itself quite quiet over the years, and the supplier relationships had really been neglected,” she said.
“It was one of the reasons I wanted suppliers as part of the day.
“We are building those key relationships and that will, with the experience we’ve got in our teams, allow us to look at whatever opportunities present themselves.
“We haven’t been visible and out there and that’s something that I’ve been very determined to change.”
Hutton joined as finance director in March 2022 and was promoted to managing director of the family-owned agency in September 2022.
She said the brand refresh was yet to be approved but would not include a change of name.
“We don’t want to alienate any of our existing customers, but we want to freshen it up to attract new customers and the younger demographic,” she said.
New uniforms will be introduced by the summer, as part of a wider facelift programme for the 20 shops.
“I’m not going to change the company colours but we’ll be using different shades and tones to have a different feel,” she said. “It’s subtle but different enough that it’s noticeable.”
Other recent developments include new systems for banking, accounting and HR, plus pay rises and a framework for salary increases.
The business employs 236 people, which includes about 180 in the shops, with the rest in foreign exchange, corporate travel and the company’s own golf course.
One homeworker has been recruited to focus on the digital side of the business and offer services out‑of-hours – and more are sought.
Hutton said sales were going “really well”, with particular growth in cruise and touring, and next year was looking “very positive”.