Edinburgh travel agency celebrates new shop

An Edinburgh travel agency has opened a new shop after three years of remote working.

Travel Zing welcomed customers and suppliers for a celebratory day in Leith on May 28, having unveiled a new store on Duke Street at the start of the month.

“People are buzzing about us being back,” said owner Laura Hibbert, adding: “We’ve been inundated with presents and cards.”

Hibbert, who employs three members of staff, originally set up the business on nearby Great Junction Street in 2016, but the shop closed in June 2021 because of the pandemic.

The staff shifted to remote working, with access to a local church hall for face-to-face appointments.

“As we came out of Covid, it became obvious that demand was really strong and more and more people wanted to see us, so we made the decision to take on a new unit,” said Hibbert.

The new premises had not been properly used since the 1960s and required significant work before the agency was able to move in, said Hibbert, but the landlord has done a “great job”.

Since the shop opened on May 6, the business has been “absolutely buzzing”, according to Hibbert, with customers represented across the age range.

“We’ve got a really good mixture of ages,” said Hibbert. “Just prior to Covid we were sending out 200-300 school leavers to Magaluf and places like that and we’re slowly but surely building that back up.”

The most popular trips are “bucket and spade” holidays, but there has been a recent increase in cruise bookings and touring holidays as well as a rise in multigenerational trips.

“Post-Covid, we’ve found some people are spending a little bit more money,” said Hibbert.

Before the pandemic, she said, around three quarters of business came through repeat customers or recommendations, with indications suggesting customers are remaining loyal.

“I’m extremely lucky that the client base has stuck with us through Covid,” said Hibbert. “And what’s been amazing is the amount of new customers we’ve had in the last four weeks.”

The shop was “rammed” during the open day, which ran from 12pm until 7pm, with guests including Glen Travel director Alan Glen.

“Alan came all the way from Motherwell on a Tuesday,” said Hibbert. “I said to the girls it’s something we should be proud of, that we had people taking the time out of their day to see us.”

Hibbert, who has 35 years’ experience in the travel industry, said she was confident that clients continue to value face-to-face interactions.

“I think people want to support local businesses. They want to keep the high street alive as much as they can,” she added.

Pictured (from left): Zoe Hibbert, Laura Hibbert, Jackie Jarrett, Maja Birrell

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