Barrhead Travel buck high street trend with plans to open up to 25 stores

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Sharon Munro and Jacqueline Dobson
Sharon Munro and Jacqueline Dobson

Barrhead Travel is to invest in the high street by opening up to 25 stores and creating 200 jobs over the next five years.

Four new outlets plus two expansions this year takes the Scottish-based agency’s shop total to 98.

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Munro said while the high street faces challenges with store closures and low footfall, Barrhead Travel is investing in providing customers with world-class personalised service.

Barrhead Travel President Sharon Munro said: “The hard work, dedication and superb customer service from colleagues is at the core of our growth.

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“It is thanks to the support of our employees and our valued partnerships with our suppliers that we are celebrating such success – we would not be where we are today without them.

“We all love a challenge at Barrhead Travel and that’s why we have set ourselves a goal of opening up to 25 new stores over the next five years in high-footfall locations in England and Northern Ireland.

“Bricks and mortar are still the forefront of our growth strategy. We recognise that retail has been hard this year and some big high street names have closed down.

“However, the demand for personalised service in our industry remains strong and we will continue to invest in our stores and also what we believe to be our best assets – our people.

“That comes with an investment in new technology which we see as complementary, rather than a substitute, for brilliant customer service.

“That level of personalisation alongside our staff’s passion for making travel dreams come true cannot be replicated by some computer algorithm.

“Any new stores will reflect our commitment to that customer experience, complete with experiential travel visuals and VR head-sets.

“We are expanding our social media team too, adding online sales consultants who can respond to customer enquiries instantly and take holiday bookings at any time of the day.

“Our social media team has already tripled since last year and we anticipate further growth as it continues to play a huge part in the lives of our customers.”

As part of that personalisation, Barrhead Travel rolled out multiple ways for customers to pay, with innovations such as Travel Now, Pay Later and through their improved direct debit offering which will allow balances to be paid just three weeks before travel.

Despite the challenges of extreme weather and the World Cup, Barrhead Travel is positive about 2018 and say forward bookings for 2019 and beyond are strong.

Munro says the key is to “react first” citing luxury travel, touring and cruising as areas ripe for growth.

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