Four travel agencies received ITTN Travel Agency of the Year Awards on Friday night – Cassidy Travel (Leinster), Lee Travel (Munster), Fahy Travel (Connacht) and Atlantic Travel (Ulster), with Cassidy Travel being declared the overall winner of the 2018 ITTN Travel Agency of the Year award.
The trophy was presented to John Spollen, Director, Cassidy Travel, by Sarah Slattery, Irish Travel Trade News.
This year, ITTN introduced a new method of selecting agencies for the ITTN Travel Agency of the Year Awards. We confidentially invited 20 suppliers – six airlines, five tour operators, four cruise/ferry companies, three travel technology companies, and two car rental companies – to nominate one agency in each of the four provinces.
The four agencies that received the highest number of nominations in each province were shortlisted and asked to enter submissions. These comprised a brief statement about the agency, including its promotion activities and innovations during 2018, an exterior and interior photo of the agency, and details of its website and social media platforms.
These submissions, and their websites and social media platforms, were then assessed by four judges – Joan Scales, formally of The Irish Times; Sinead Grace, Tourism Ireland; Michael Flood, Editor, ITTN; and Sarah Slattery, ITTN; with the judging panel convened by a non-voting Chairman, Stephen Murray, Grant Thornton.
THE FOUR PROVINCE WINNERS
CASSIDY TRAVEL, DUBLIN CITY
Judges’ comments: “In addition to developing nine branches and travel pods throughout Dublin, as well as a strong website and eight product brochures, Cassidy Travel has shown real innovation with its in-store self-service iPads, ‘suitcase’ mascots, Little Explorers writing programme for children, and development of its Facebook page to 175,600 followers.”
Other finalists: eTravel, Marble City Travel, Platinum Travel
LEE TRAVEL, CORK CITY
Judges’ comments: “Lee Travel has significantly expanded its social media presence, including 13,000 followers on Facebook, has part-chartered Independence of the Seas for two mini-cruises in 2019 from Cobh and Southampton, flies 500 schoolchildren for the Hope Foundation to India every year, and operates ex-Cork charters to Six Nations competitions. We also note the agency’s quick response recently to assist clients of Heffernan’s Travel.”
Other finalists: Corporate Travel Management; J Barter Travel; Strand Travel
FAHY TRAVEL, GALWAY CITY
Judges’ comments: “Multi-award-winning Fahy Travel is presented with yet another award for its innovative Holiday Expo and Adventure Evening (jointly with G Adventures), both held in Galway last September, and for its plans to establish a dedicated Adventure Tours department.”
Other finalists: Fly Away Travel, Grogan Travel, Keller Travel
ATLANTIC TRAVEL, LETTERKENNY, CO DONEGAL
Judges’ comments: “Atlantic Travel has made great strides in the past two years by focusing on brand awareness and marketing initiatives, particularly in developing its cruise market and expertise, as well as its Holiday & Cruise Show. Introduction this year of Workplace by Facebook has improved enquiry responses and analytics. Opportunities presented this year by Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Killybegs and the Irish Open in Ballyliffin were acted on, and a commercial agreement with Jet2.com was achieved in August.”
Other finalists: American Holidays, Oasis Travel, O’Hanrahan Travel