Fred Olsen Travel Colchester assistant manager Claire Bradford collects the award for Best Sales Consultant - Small Agency at the Travel Weekly Agent Excellence AwardsTravel Weekly Agent Excellence Award winner Claire Bradford isn’t one to turn down a challenge.

When the Fred Olsen Colchester assistant manager was set a sales target of £415,000 last year, she pulled out all the stops to ensure her goal was met during a difficult time for the agency.

The Fred Olsen Colchester branch, previously located near the entrance of the Williams and Griffin department store, had been moved to the back of the store, leading to fewer visitors and sales.

“We needed to remarket ourselves and raise our profile, but didn’t know how to do it,” said Claire.

Inspired by a brainstorming session led by retail expert Jonathan James at the Triton Conference, Claire devised a plan.

“We put posters in the police station, the fire station and local shops to let them know who we were,” she said. “We even offered introductory discounts as an incentive.”

But it wasn’t until Claire had the idea of running a travel agency book exchange that things really started to pick up.

“We asked customers to bring used books into the agency in exchange for unread ones. It attracted so much attention we were featured in the local paper,” she said.

“Those who didn’t have a book to give away were asked to make a small donation to charity. I lost my aunt and uncle to cancer so was thrilled to be able to give the money to the St Helena Hospice,” added Claire.

This year Claire has achieved 50% of her target in the first four months of the year, making her the top seller in the company.

“I was very proud to win this award as it not only acknowledges the team’s efforts but helps in our struggle to let people know we are here,” Claire said.

Don’t forget we’ve still got the Southeast and Northern Agent Excellence Awards open for entries. Go to to find out more.


Award winner profile: Claire Bradford

What makes you a great sales consultant? Bookings require a lot of hard work, dedication, time and switching around to get them right.

What’s your favourite destination? I’ve backpacked and seen a lot of wonderful places, but I’d have to say either the Seychelles or Australia.

Where would you like to go next? I’d love to go to Vietnam, but a safari is top of my list.

What’s your best booking? I booked a skiing holiday for 57 adults and two babies with Neilson, earning £27,757 for the agency.

What’s your next career step? I’m happy to improve in this position for another couple of years, but I’d eventually like to be a shop manager.

Don’t forget we’ve still got the Southeast and Northern Agent Excellence Awards open for entries. Go to to find out more.


Tips for raising an agency’s profile

  • Ask your colleagues to help come up with ideas and keep them fully involved.

  • Ask for help, whether it is within the agency or outside.

  • Never be afraid to try new things.

Previous winner profiles