Go Cruise & Travel franchisee to open first shop on high street

Go Cruise & Travel franchisees Rich and Yvonne Sharp are to move their business on to the high street for the first time because of their belief in the power of face-to-face sales.

The husband and wife team plan to open a travel agency in the centre of Goole in east Yorkshire at the end of the month after two years running their agency from home.

The agency, part of Fred Olsen Travel, has negotiated a five-year lease on a former Tui shop in the inland port town.

The shop is due to be fitted out and decorated this month and will have two desks and a seating area. Rich will man the shop full-time while Yvonne will work there part-time.

Rich, a former captain and chief officer on cargo ships, said the agency had thrived off the back of meetings with customers at wedding fayres, destination shows and community events.

He said: “We find the best way to build relationships with clients is to meet them face-to-face; that’s proved the best way of working for us.

“It’s how we have grown the business and we find the type of customers who want to meet in person are the people we want to attract. We have had a lot of support and training from Fred Olsen Travel since we set up the business and we are now ready for the next step.”

The agency began its search for locations last year and settled on former travel agency premises in the centre of Goole, situated on the River Ouse.

“I used to take ships up there,” recalled Rich, who started his career as a deck cadet in Cunard’s cargo division in 1990.

“I was put into the cargo division so I never got to step foot on the QE2 but I have had a varied career and worked on all sorts of ships – container ships, tankers – for 11 years. I qualified as a ship captain and chief officer and worked as a river pilot. I spent a lot of time at sea.”

He added: “Goole is an interesting town. It’s up and coming, there’s lots of investment in the area and a lot of industry, so we see it as a really good opportunity.”

Go Cruise & Travel will be the only travel agency on the town’s high street.

“The town council had identified a travel agency as missing on the high street so hopefully the demand is there for those who want to step into a shop [to book a holiday]. Currently they have to travel several miles to the nearest travel agency,” said Rich.

He added: “We don’t just sell cruise and part of our marketing will be to get that message out. Obviously we have taken on the overheads so we need to grow the business, that’s the objective.”

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