Agent Achievement Awards 2015: Winners revealed

Three stalwarts of the travel trade were honoured at the Travel Weekly Agent Achievement Awards in London on Tuesday.

Peter Beadles, chairman of Reader Offers, Bryony Hordern, former owner of Tickets Anywhere, and Eddie Starkie, managing director of Althams Travel, were the three recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award.

They received the honour in front of more than 800 guests at a sold-out ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel in central London.

Starkie, managing director of Althams Travel, said: “I am very surprised, proud and shocked to win. This is an award for the whole team – I couldn’t do it on my own.”

Hordern, founder of Tickets Anywhere in Thame, which was recently sold to Spear Travels, said: “It was very emotional to win this award – how lovely to end on a high!”

A range of other awards were presented on the night, rewarding the best agents and agencies in the country.

Lucy Huxley, editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly Group, said: “The sheer scale of the 2015 Agent Achievement Awards is testament to the value and importance of our travel agent readers.

“The three winners of our Outstanding Contribution Award are true servants and leaders of the industry and thoroughly deserve this recognition.”

Other big winners on the night included Hays Travel, which won the Best Use of Social Media Award and the Promotion of the Year Award for large agencies in addition to the Yorkshire, North Midlands & Northeast England – Large Agency Award.

John Hays, managing director and founder of Hays Travel, said: “This year is particularly special as we celebrate our 35th year in business. We proved that we maintain the traditional virtues of what a travel agency is all about while also moving into modern times.

“I’m very proud that we achieved the social media award for the first time and that’s down to my daughter Helen who heads up that department. It was emotional seeing her go on stage to collect the awards for social media and promotion of the year awards.

“It’s a cliché but it is all about the staff and we are as motivated as we’ve ever been to maintain out progress in the industry.”

Midcounties Co-operative Travel and Oasis Travel bagged the Best High Street Agency Awards in the national large and small categories respectively, with Travel Counsellors being named Best Homeworking Agency. scooped the Online Agency Award while Blue Bay Travel won the Best Call Centre Agency honour.

Alistair Rowland, group general manager of Midcounties Travel Co-op, which also won the award for Central England – Large Agency, said: “To win both of these awards for the second year in a row is just wild. It means the world to all of our colleagues in Midcounties.”

Independent Travel Expert Wendy Veal was named leisure agent of the year, while Alison Shaw of Thomas Cook was named leisure manager of the year.

Veal said: “This means the world to me – it will go straight on to my mantelpiece! I am so passionate about travel, I have been in the industry over 20 years and built my own brand. It’s fantastic to receive this award.”

Cook also completed an individual awards double, with agent Frances Swift being named young leisure agent of the year.

Check back on for more photos and reaction from the night.

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry
Peter Beadles, Readers Offers

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry
Bryony Hordern 

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry
Eddie Starkie, Althams Travel

TIPTO Indie Agent of the Year
Love2shop Holidays

Clia New to Cruise Award

High Street Agency – Small Agency
Oasis Travel

High Street Agency – Large Agency
Midcounties Co-operative

Cruise Agency – Small Agency
Blue Water Holidays

Cruise Agency – Large Agency

Homeworking Agency
Travel Counsellors

Best Use of Social Media
Hays Travel

Call Centre Agency
Blue Bay Travel

Online Agency

Promotion of the Year – Small Agency
Thorne Travel

Promotion of the Year – Large Agency
Hays Travel

Website of the Year – Small Agency
Cruise Nation

Website of the Year – Large Agency
On the Beach

Young Leisure Agent of the Year 
Frances Swift, Thomas Cook

Leisure Agent of the Year
Wendy Veal, Wendy Veal Luxury Travel Planner

Leisure Manager of the Year
Alison Shaw, Thomas Cook

Aspire Agent of the Year
Sangeeta Sehmi, Creative Travellers

Aspire Booking of the Year
Kathryn Thompson, Elite Travel Boutique

Aspire Extra Mile Award
Debby King, Departure Lounge Travel

Aspire Supporter of the Year
Peter Ruck, GoCruise By Peter Ruck Ltd

Northern Ireland –  Small Agency
Oasis Travel 

Northern Ireland – Large Agency
Thomas Cook

Scotland – Small Agency
Ramsay World Travel

Scotland – Large Agency
Barrhead Travel 

Yorkshire, N Midlands and NE England – Small Agency
Worldwide Travel Solutions

Yorkshire, N Midlands and NE England – Large Agency
Hays Travel 

NW England and North Wales – Small Agency
Aspen Travel

NW England and North Wales – Large Agency
Althams Travel

Central England – Small Agency
Carrick Travel

Central England – Large Agency
Midcounties Co-operative Travel

London and SE England – Small Agency
Baldwins Travel

London and SE England – Large Agency
Thomas Cook

SW England and South Wales – Small Agency
Newell’s Travel

SW England and South Wales – Large Agency
Bath Travel

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