A rapidly-growing Scottish holiday firm is bucking gloomy trends, with soaring demand for its range of coach tours.
Despite the recession, Glenton Holidays is on course for a record-breaking bumper year in 2009, with sales already 20% ahead of last year.
And 2008 was a record year too, as the coaching specialist saw sales reach a new height with turnover increasing to more than £5 million.
Glenton’s optimism is reflected by recent travel industry reports which tipped domestic coach tours for success in 2009.
In its annual holiday money report last week, the Post Office said: “Likely beneficiaries of the fall-out look to be holidays where tourists know in advance what their outlay will be, especially all-inclusive packages and coach tours.”
The Confederation of Passenger Transport recently unveiled a survey of 3,000 people which predicted Britain is set for a “coach boom as consumers cut spending abroad”.
And the Coach Tourism Council, which represents 150 of the UK’s leading coach tour operators and coach holiday booking agencies, says bookings for coach day trips, short breaks and longer holidays for early 2009 have increased by up to 20%.
Glenton commercial director Steve Turbill commented: “Last year was our best ever – however, the strength of our bookings so far this year has taken us by surprise as people are increasingly choosing to holiday in the UK.
“Also, with a coach holiday customers can budget more easily, as most costs are included such as excursions, accommodation and meals.
“We have added 17 more departure points across Scotland to cope with rising demand and also launched a programme of tours from the North East of England earlier this month.
“Glenton is on target to carry more than 40,000 passengers this year thanks to this expansion.”
Glenton was founded in 2005 by coach industry executives Steve Turbill, Harriet Stamp and Paul Bennett.
Steve and Harriet both came from senior roles in the coach holiday business, and Paul established coaching specialist The UK Holiday Group in 1984.
In just three years, Glenton has become Scotland’s fastest growing coach holiday operator – and the only main coach specialist in Scotland to be a bonded member of ABTA.
This means customers’ money is safe, which is a strong selling point after a spate of gloomy headlines about the travel industry in 2008.
Operations director Harriet said: “We have seen great success because we offer something different, over and above our good value, affordable holidays.
“Customers appreciate the fact that holiday insurance is included in the price and there are no hidden extras. Most holidays have no single room supplements, and we are the only company in Scotland to offer that.
“Also popular are the welcome packs which include our Glentoneer magazine and snacks.”