Special Report: Barrhead Travel Conference

The Scottish company held its largest annual forum last weekend, hosting more than 200 agents at the Trump Turnberry hotel. Amie Keeley reports

Barrhead Christmas ad will be its first on social media

Barrhead Travel will launch its first social media Christmas campaign next month featuring a series of festive videos.

The clips will show Father Christmas booking his holiday with Barrhead Travel.

The videos will be released in weekly instalments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social media manager Katie Speirits said: “While regional television advertising still plays an important role in our marketing strategy, more and more of our customer group is choosing
to tune into social media to consume content.”

The Scottish travel group said it had recorded substantial growth of its social media community during 2018 and now has almost 13,400 followers on Twitter and 193,500 ‘Likes’ on Facebook with a reach of 3.6 million customers per month.

The travel agency has created a 10-strong social media team in the past 12 months and plans to recruit five more in the next year.

Speirits said: “Now more than ever, there is a need to understand the preferences and behaviours of consumers on social media. There is a higher percentage of people aged 65-plus who are heading to Facebook as their main social media account.”

Brilliant Travel attracts 16 members in the past year

Brilliant Travel, the homeworking and Managed Service Travel Partner (MSTP) division of Barrhead Travel, has welcomed 16 new members in the past year.

Twelve members have joined as homeworkers and four have joined as retail outlets. The number of members across both groups now stands at 69.

Brilliant Travel director Linda Pyle shared some of the group’s plans to enhance its offering for members, including a new website for homeworkers, which will feature a customer enquiry function and a search facility by region.

It is hoped the website, due to launch in spring 2019, will help boost search engine optimisation rankings for members.

Currently, the majority of its homeworkers use social media to promote their businesses, but the new site will give members their own URLs hosted within the site.

Brilliant Travel already operates an intranet platform for members that allows customers to manage their bookings and their direct debit payments.

Meanwhile, a marketing executive from Barrhead Travel’s head office and a trainer have been appointed to support members.

Pyle said: “Brilliant Travel offers a highly personalised support service to each member and a large part of our growth is thanks to members who have either recommended us, or have inspired other travel colleagues to start their own business journey.

“We are invested in the growth of their businesses – if they grow, we grow. We have some who are opening their second, third or, in some cases, fourth or fifth stores.”

Barrhead lauded by MSP for charity fundraising

A Scottish politician has lodged a Parliamentary Motion in recognition of Barrhead Travel’s charitable work.

Tom Arthurs, MSP for Renfrewshire South, lodged the motion following Barrhead’s fundraising campaign for Just a Drop, which raised £9,000 for a fresh water tank in a primary school in Songeni, Kenya.

Employees across the business devised a calendar of activity including marathons and hosting race nights.

Barrhead has pledged to treble its fundraising in 2019 in order to build a health centre for a village in Uganda.

The agency was also commended for its commitment to charity and work within the local community.

Each member of staff across its network of 73 stores has one paid day per year to volunteer for charity or in their local community.

News in brief

Barrhead Travel creates dedicated marketing teams
Barrhead Travel has split its marketing team into specialist units. There are now dedicated teams covering particular destinations and sectors including cruise, Canada and short-haul. The business said it is looking to expand the teams in 2019.

Universal booking lounge to open in Glasgow store
An experiential Universal Resort booking lounge will open in Barrhead Travel’s superstore in Glasgow. It will feature virtual reality headsets and Harry Potter costumes for children. It is due to open in early 2019.

Barrhead to launch joint multi-channel campaigns in 2019
Barrhead Travel will launch its first joint campaigns with Visit Florida and the Hong Kong Tourism Board in 2019.The campaigns will involve multi-channel marketing including joint TV advertising, PR launches, digital activity and consumer competitions.

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