A UK breaks specialist agency and operator is to open its third store thanks to the staycation boom and has set its sights on opening a further five shops within five years.
Travel with Matthew’s third shop will open in a former Tailor Made Travel store in Treorchy, Wales, on August 3.
Travel with Matthew, which does not sell flights, puts together its own UK holidays including hotel, cottage, lodge and caravan breaks, as a tour operator using local coach firms, and targets a younger demographic. It has commercial deals to sell through third party agents including Hays Travel and The Travel House.
It also operates as a travel agency, selling UK breaks through domestic tour operators such as Shearings, Leger Holidays, Just Go! Holidays and Hoseasons.
It relocated its Merthyr Tydfil store to larger premises in September last year. Its other store in Porth, Wales, opened in May 2020.
Managing director Matthew Sutton, who started the business in 2019, said the expansion into Treorchy was a result of the “massive increase” in UK bookings since February.
He said: “We’ve had our eye on these premises since January. It’s in a great location and is known as a travel shop. It’s the perfect time to launch.
“Bookings have gone through the roof since about February and we’re even seeing customers travel on coach holidays, who normally wouldn’t. We needed extra staff and it was a case of do we try to squeeze them all into our current premises or open a new shop and expand the brand further.”
He was confidence the staycation boom would continue and is targeting a further four shops in Wales and one in England to bring the portfolio up to eight in total within the next five years.
“I do believe people with stick with staycations, even if they do one abroad and one domestic holiday,” he said.
The company’s turnover is up 75% compared to this time last year and it has already had to increase staff numbers during the pandemic from ten to 18 to cope with demand. It has recruited a further five staff for the new shop, some of whom were made redundant over the last 18 months.
“It’s nice to be able to put people back into employment,” added Sutton.
Sutton said the expansion was despite difficult trading times during the pandemic.
He said: “We are very passionate about what we do and I believe this makes a huge difference. It’s been hard to keep that passion going during the last year, and I know everyone in the travel industry probably feels the same. It’s gone from one of the happiest jobs in the world to one that became very challenging.
“But we’ve been fortunate to have a fantastic team, and an excellent customer base to help us through.”