Travel Department to work with more agents ‘strategically’ across UK

A tour operator which began working with travel agents a year ago says it hopes to build more trade relationships “strategically across the UK” after sales surpassed expectations.

Travel Department, which specialises in guided group holidays, initially started to work with Barrhead Travel Group in Scotland and other regions of the UK a year ago. This was followed by a partnership with Oasis Travel in northern Ireland and selected Aito Agents in England.

UK general manager Stephen Mills said the decision to sell through travel agents saw the escorted tours specialist’s sales rise beyond expectations. He credited agents’ expertise and customer care as well as being available in a new route to market for the increase.

Mills said: “We intentionally partnered with a limited number of select travel agents as we did not want to spread ourselves too thinly and to allow for those new agents to get to know our brand, values and product.

“We didn’t want our partners forced to compete with multiple agents all selling the same proposition.”

The operator offers price parity and said it now hoped to increase its trade partnerships further.

For 2024, the operator has added new partners including Ramsay Travel, Spear Travels and Club World Travel. It plans to take four Barrhead Travel agents to Tuscany next week for the company’s first ever agent fam trip. Travel Department also recently became an associate member of the Scottish Passenger Agents Association (SPAA).

Mills said: “We are working strategically on building our agency partnerships across the UK without compromising on the relationships we already have in place. We appreciate and understand the value and service travel agents offer and have already seen significant levels of growth for 2024.”

Agents who work with Travel Department receive bespoke marketing and promotional materials and regular social media content to send out to clients.

Its guided group holidays include river cruises, solos trips, long-haul holidays, city breaks and a new range of ‘Unique Small Group’ tours to nearly 200 destinations worldwide. Some of its top sellers short-haul include Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia and long-haul include India, Canada, South Africa and China.

It claims to offer among the broadest range of guided group holiday destinations out of northern Ireland and Scotland and some of the best value new alternatives from London.

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.