Miss Ellies Travel in Manchester has discovered the secret of beating the credit crunch – a return to “traditional travel agency values”.
The long-established travel agency has seen 15% year on year growth. Managing director Ellie Doherty claims regular staff training, good customer service and moving with the times by launching a new website are the key to her success.
She said: “The competition is fierce in travel but that keeps you on your toes. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the edge, not by discounting but offering quality service and knowledge.
“The high street is often missing the service element. You have to have the right people selling the right product. We have not got a niche but we’ve never stood still.”
The agency can also thank its celebrity clients for its continued healthy sales. “We have about a dozen A-list clients who provide us with high value, good quality bookings. The credit crunch doesn’t affect them and we provide the service they want.”
Doherty has made sure she maintains her “edge” by launching a new bookable website this year. “We invested in new technology as it is a great way of attracting new customers. Some people look at the site and book and others ring us, as they often still want to speak to someone,” said Doherty.
The site works well for Miss Ellie’s tour operation. Using a system called Planesales, other agents can book flight-only through the site for a small fee. The tool is available from technology company The Vertical Group, which owns Miss Ellie’s Travel.
The agency has also started using its customer relationship management system more effectively. “We use it to send information requests, confirmations and welcome home emails. It is a great product but only works if you’re using it to its full advantage,” added Doherty.