Premier Travel eyes further expansion

Premier Travel will consider opportunities to take on more managed service branches as it looks to resume its pre-pandemic growth plans.

The move follows a partnership with Cannon Travel in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, which becomes its fourth managed service branch.
The East Anglian agency chain now has 26 high street branches – 22 of which it owns.

Cannon Travel, which approached Premier Travel earlier this year, is the first to retain its name, rather than adopting the Premier Travel brand.

Under the deal, Premier Travel has taken on the agency’s back-office functions, such as supplier payments, but has also provided a branch manager, who is employed by Premier Travel and will attend meetings with managers from the group’s owned branches.

Director Paul Waters said the company would take on more managed service branches if opportunities arose. “We do not want to grow for the sake of growing,” he said. “It has to be the right type of business and work for both sides.

“We were looking at expansion pre-pandemic. It went on the back-burner due to Covid. Now things are starting to recover, we’re looking to see what opportunities are out there.”

Agencies would need to be in Premier’s strongholds of the East of England and the East Sussex/Surrey region, but could retain their branding. Its other managed service branches are in Bexhill-on-Sea, Seaford and Reigate.

“Brand names are precious,” added Waters. “From our point of view, it’s about the local community.”

Cannon Travel’s joint managing director, Kevin Brooks, said the partnership would allow him to take a step back from the business, and would allow joint managing director Vivien Townsend to focus on selling holidays and working from home.

“It’s turned a bad situation, because of the pandemic, into a move forward,” he said. “We feel more positive about the future.

“It was important for us to keep our name, as we’ve been trading for 32 years. We’re not locked into selling [certain] products. We still own the business and there will not be any noticeable difference for customers.”

Cannon Travel’s Abta number remains the same and has been transferred to Premier Travel.

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