“We were flattered to win the ITTN Travel Agency of the Year – Leinster award last November, and in January we were also delighted to win the inaugural Irish Independent Readers’ Award for Best Travel Agent or Tour Operator in Ireland,” Matt Larmer, Deputy General Manager of Trailfinders Ireland told ITTN’s News & Features Editor Neil Steedman.
“Independent readers’ comments included: “helpful, professional staff who really know their stuff”, “exceptional service and attention to detail”, “always helpful and courteous”, “cannot fault their knowledge and advice”, and “fantastic for long-haul and exotic destinations” – such comments were very gratifying.
“Trailfinders guarantees to make good any money paid to Trailfinders in the event of the financial collapse of an airline, tour operator or any other transport provider, and that, coupled with the high quality service and product knowledge of our sales teams, as well as our consistent and reasonable pricing margins, gives great comfort to our clients.
“Our client numbers are growing and so we are recruiting staff. We have some 80 in Dublin, 15 in Cork and 10 in Limerick, and around 85% of those are sales staff. We don’t look for trained people when recruiting because it is more important that they are friendly, confident, have an aptitude for sales, and have extensive travel experience – and, yes, we do get a lot of previous Trailfinders clients asking about jobs and applying.
“New staff members get five weeks training in London on our systems, including Galileo and our own ViewTrail, together with role playing in sales, then join a team to be mentored by the team leader for six to eight weeks, and then return to London for another week’s training.
“Everyone starts on the Worldwide team and can then move on to one or more of the specialist teams, such as Cruise, Honeymoons, Group Travel, First & Business Class Premium Travel, and Visas. Training never really stops and sales performance coaches monitor calls.
“About 80% of our bookings are repeats or referrals, and this is constant year to year. Yes, a lot of our bookings are for long-haul, exotic destinations – holidays or honeymoons involving complexity and for which clients do not trust themselves to self-book.
“Trailfinders was founded in the UK in 1970 by Mike Gooley with a staff of four and now has more than 1,000 staff in 26 stores, including one in Belfast. Trailfinders continues to be a privately owned, independent company specialising in tailormaking itineraries worldwide, with Mike Gooley as Founder and Chairman.
“Trailfinders Ireland was established in 1997, so we are celebrating 20 years in Ireland this year, now has the three stores in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, and we set up our specialist cruise team in 2010. We wouldn’t say no to opening another branch in Ireland, but at present about 80% of resources are directed to phones and 20% to stores.”