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TRAVEL AGENT PROFILE: PST TRAVEL

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In the third of a four-part series of travel agent profiles, Travel Daily discovers how a focus on service and niche sectors has proved a winning formula for established travel agency PST Travel 
Profile Name: Martin Wellings Position: Director/owner Agency: PST Travel – member of The Global Travel Group Specialisation: Long haul, tailor made and cruising. My success story My company started in 1953, and I joined it in the ‘60s, so I have experienced extensive changes over the years, but as I tell everyone, at least in the travel industry you can’t get bored! This brings me to the subject of changes, as there have been even more since the turn of the century, and most due to the rise of the internet, so adaptability to change has been essential. Whilst things like ferry, air and cheap packages to the Med have largely disappeared, so have many of our retail competitors, and instead we are targeting the more complicated types of travel, the long haul, tailor made and cruising, which means that whilst we are booking less people, the average spend is far greater. Being more specialised, and having less high street competition has also meant that we don’t need to be in such prime locations with their heavy rent and rates, so we can reduce overheads. The ‘S’ in PST stands for service, and I firmly believe that service to the public is as important as it ever was, and therefore the staff that we employ are a crucial part of this. I am lucky, we have a great team with considerable travel experience, who are good at dealing with the public. The current average length of service is 18 years. Sales techniques and service actually merge when we demonstrate that unlike many companies who reward new customers at the expense of the old ones, we must demonstrate that we value long standing clients, and should “talk” to them regularly via mail or email (but not more than one a month) – everyone likes to feel special! Finally, as to the future, I see continual change, a greater need to convert bookings when customers ask us for information, a recognition that they take more than one holiday a year, so need to try to provide a service that meets all of their holiday needs, and consider some special departures that can only be booked by us. That will be my recipe for increasing income over the next few years.
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