North of England based high street travel agency chain Dawson and Sanderson has recruited Thomas Cook’s Chris Harrison to the new position of sales and marketing director.
Harrison, who is contracted to work for Cook until September, has been working in the scheduled part of the business based in Preston that incorporates Gold Medal and Netflights.
Chris Pattison, Dawson and Sanderson managing director, said the appointment of Harrison would allow him to relinquish some of his roles and was about “future-proofing” the business.
“We wanted someone of Chris’ calibre to join us and it will also allow me to take more of a back seat in the future. Chris will take a full overview of the business and modernise some of the processes we have here in relation to sales and marketing.
“He will be involved in all areas of the business but our main focus will still be on the high street. He has a good track record at Thomas Cook working in tour operations for a number of years and we have worked with him closely while he has been at Cooks.”
Dawson and Sanderson is poised to mark its 50th anniversary claiming to be one of the few travel firms that has remained in family ownership for such a long period. It has 22 shops spread across the north of England and operates the holidayco.co.uk website which Pattison said has been actively trading for the last 18 months.
Pattison said the site has seen “massive growth”, although conceded that did not mean a “massive amount of business” adding trade on the high street, while down on five years ago, had picked up.
“This is the third recession I have worked through in my travel carreer, it’s not better than the last one and no worse than the last one. The business is still coming in steadily. It bottomed out two years ago, we saw a bit of growth last year and a bit this year.
“Interestingly enough people in the north still book their holidays quite early – we have most business in for this financial year, which ends in August.” Pattison said he would not rule out further expansion on the high street if the right opportunities came along.