Exterior of Greenstar Travel, Claygate

Interior of Greenstar Travel, Claygate

Surrey travel agent Martyn Fisher has opened the doors of his shop Greenstar Travel after a six-month refit and says the response has been fantastic.

Independent Advantage member Greenstar Travel, based in the village of Claygate, was given a £22,000 refurbishment before Christmas after managing director Fisher decided the store was in need of modernisation.

He expects sales this year to be at least 7% up on 2006.

He said: “We took a step back and looked at retail travel and we decided that shopping now is meant to be a retail experience. The response from clients has been fantastic. Nine out of 10 said it is really nice and the other one said they didn’t think it needed changing.”

The agency has ditched window cards – which appeared to be falling out of favour last summer – and now has clear windows featuring just a couple of promotional posters. Inside there are smaller individual desks for sales consultants and the number of brochures has been cut from more than 200 to 120. Fisher also plans to use plasma screens advertising promotions.

The front of the shop was closed for two weeks during the refit, but Fisher and two other staff worked out of a back office so clients could continue to visit. Fisher said sales compared to the same period in 2005 were down only 25% – he had expected it to be more in the region of 50%.

A loyalty card was also introduced last October for around 75 high-spending or repeat customers. Every couple of months they are kept informed about the latest offers via a newsletter.