Independent agency Off Broadway Travel has announced it will open a new ‘Luxury Travel Lounge’ in the town of Tenterden, Kent, adding to its existing office in Welwyn.
Personal travel specialist Mark Beattie will switch from serving clients from his home in Ashford to the new lounge.
It will also be available for use by the agency’s other homeworkers and will work on a ‘travel by appointment’ basis.
The lounge is being introduced in response to strong demand in the area, according to Patricia Conroy Smith, owner of Off Broadway Travel.
“Due to high demand from Mark’s loyal client base in the area of Tenterden and surrounding villages, we have decided that opening a Luxury Travel Lounge will be highly beneficial to servicing these clients going forward,” she said, adding: “An opportunity such as this would have been too good to turn down”.
“We believe the attraction of being the only truly independent, family-owned travel agent in Tenterden will be appealing to prospective clients,” the firm said.
“Like the rest of the industry, we sincerely hope that business continues to go from strength to strength, without any more set-backs, and we believe there is a fantastic opportunity for continued growth with the new Luxury Travel Lounge in Tenterden.”
Beyond the lounge, the agency said it would also be offering out-of-hours home-based appointments to offer more flexibility, as well as Zoom calls to suit clients’ schedules.
“We understand that the ‘new normal’ has resulted in a lot of change in working environments across all industries, and we believe that offering morning/evening appointments at clients’ homes is something that will now be more sought after than it perhaps had been five years ago,” an Off Broadway spokesperson said.
“On top of face-to-face appointments, we remain available for Zoom calls with clients should this be preferable, and again this can be a mutually convenient time. Long gone are the days of a ‘normal 9-5 working day’.”
The agency said its Welwyn office had seen continued growth despite the challenges of the pandemic, with new enquiries for 2022 and 2023 coming in and new clients seeking the expertise of a trusted agent.
Off Broadway Travel made headlines earlier this year when it asked local MP – transport secretary Grant Shapps – to visit so they could “explain what a travel agent is” to him. Shapps has drawn criticism from within the trade after he referred to travel companies as “what people would have called travel agents in the past” when revealing the government’s first green list of countries in its criticised traffic light system for international travel.