Francesca Freeman talks to Karen Moule of Fred Olsen Travel, winner of the Best Manager, Small Agency award for the Midlands region
When Karen Moule took over as manager of Fred Olsen Travel, Norwich, the odds appeared to be stacked against her.
Having recently relocated to a site in a department store, the branch was struggling to re-establish itself in its new setting and sales figures were down.
Not one to let adversity dampen her spirits, Karen seized her new position with optimism, turning the site to the branch’s advantage.
“I saw our location as a benefit – all the passing trade. I set about making some key contacts in areas of the store that were already flourishing, and had a ready-made continuous stream of customers.”
A series of successful fairs and information evenings raised the branch’s profile, resulting in a larger client base and a boost in sales.
“We held our Norwich Cruise Fair in January, which more than 500 people attended, many of whom were new to cruise and new customers,” she said. By February, the branch’s figures were 36% up on budget, and 93% up on 2007 figures, reflecting her hard work.
More than 60% of the branch’s business now comes from repeat customers, a figure Karen believes reflects her team’s success in selling the perfect tailored product. “We want customers to return and to recommend us to their family and friends – and they do!”
And there’s something Karen is happy to recommend – entering the Agent Excellence Awards. “Go for it – you never know what you can achieve.”
Top five tips
- Aim your business at certain markets and groups
- Always keep up with the latest booking trends
- Chase enquiries, you’ve done the hard work and want the bookings
- Smile – first impressions count
- Go the extra mile – customers really appreciate it
- 2008 to present: Fred Olsen Travel, manager
- 2006: Fred Olsen Travel, assistant manager
- 2002: Galaxy Travel, senior travel adviser, assistant manager and cruise manager
- 1998: Going Places, trainee travel consultant
To find out more, or to buy tickets for our regional Travel Trade Balls and award ceremonies, go to twawards.co.uk
Get coverage and photos of the events at travelweekly.co.uk/agentawards.