Cambridge-based Premier Group has defied the economic downturn by acquiring fellow independent travel company, Travel Centre, and by declaring its intention to seize similar opportunities.
The company, which comprises tour operating arm Premier Holidays and Premier Travel Agency – a 29-strong chain that includes franchises along the south coast – has bought over Norwich-based Travel Centre which comprises seven branches and an Australian tour business, Travel Australia.
The similarity between the companies was one of the main reasons for the takeover, said Premier chairman and joint owner, Renford Sargent. “Both were privately owned and, like Premier, Travel Centre is a very healthy business so it was a good fit. Opportunities like this don’t come along often, so it made sense,” he said.
There are no plans to re-brand the Travel Centre agencies, said Sargent. “Travel Centre is very successful in its own right and so will continue to trade as before with two companies having two separate profit centres.
“In terms of further expansion, if opportunities like Travel Centre come again – as I think they may – it would make sense to expand our retail side further as it feeds into the tour operating side,” he said.
Sargent also had upbeat predictions for the market – particularly in the light of the US presidential election results. “Generally speaking, people have been going east rather than west, but following the election it’s possible they will return to the west – it should increase bookings to the US,” he said.