The best travel agents in the UK were honoured at the Travel Weekly Agent Achievement Awards in London on Wednesday night.
Big winners included Barrhead Travel, which picked up the best cruise and online agency awards in addition to being named Scotland’s best large agency and winning the best marketing campaign category for large agencies.
Sharon Munro, Barrhead chief executive, was overwhelmed by the success and said it was testament to her team and adapting to modern customer demands.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” she said. “I’m so proud for everyone. We have such an amazing team and if it wasn’t for them I would not be here today. I can’t wait to get back to the office tomorrow to celebrate with them.
“As an agent we are involved in so many different parts of the travel industry, we are not just on the high street. We have to stay relevant to our customers and be where they need us to be.
“This is recognition for what we do and it means the world to us. There are so many fantastic agencies out there and to see us up there with them winning awards is fantastic.”
Other multiple winners included Baldwins Travel, named best small high street agency in the UK as well as winning the London and southeast honour, and Bath Travel, which was named best large agency in the southwest of England and South Wales and London and the southeast.
Designer Travel won the best small agency website award, as well as being named best agency in the northwest and north Wales. Designer agent Simon Gemmel also picked up the Aspire Booking of the Year award, held in conjunction with Travel Weekly’s sister magazine for luxury travel agents.
Individual honours went to Thomson’s Stacie Guiel, who was named best young agent and Alan Hughes, of Independent Travel Experts, who was named best agent.
Peter Bruno from Midcounties Co-operative was named best leisure manager, and Midcounties was also named best high street agency in the country as well as Central England.
Bruno said: “I’m speechless. This award is a great achievement. It’s all down to the brilliant team I work with, and also support from those I work for. The Coop is a great organisation.”
Travel Counsellors was named best homeworking agency, while Affinion International Travel was named best call centre.
David Speakman, Travel Counsellors chairman, said: “We are very proud to have won. This is validation of us as a business.
“In the last three weeks we have shown the stability in the business, we have shown we are regarded as one of the best travel agencies in the country with our second Queen’s Award and now the AAAs, which is validation from the travel industry fratenity.”
Outstanding contribution awards were presented to Ken McLeod of Advantage, Carrick Travel founder Sally Carrick and Martin Morgan, owner of South Wales miniple The Travel House.
McLeod said: “It’s fantastic, a wonderful recognition of some of the things I’ve done in the industry – I still have plenty more to achieve though! The AAAs are a great night for agents and the industry.
“It recognises people rather than just companies and this is a people industry.”
The awards were held for the first time at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel, and included panel-judged awards and regional and national categories voted for by suppliers including tour operators, airlines, cruise companies and tourist boards.
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