A County Derry travel agent who won Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the Year in 2019 have now been named as being among the best in the British Isles.
Limavady Travel have been named in TTG’s Top 50 Tavel Agencies for 2020 after undertaking a rigorous assessment process.
Owner Hazel Simpson says the award has given everyone a lift at a difficult time.
“It’s nice to have a wee positive in what we are now calling ‘groundhog day’. It’s lovely, it makes it worthwhile that you’re still here and servicing customers,” she told the County Derry Post.
“It’s good to get it because it gives people confidence that you’re still there, even though we’re in a very strange time when it comes to travel. It’s lovely to be recognised by your peers.”
The awards process was stringent and involved an initial selection process, mystery shoppers and an intense interview with both management and staff at the agency.
“You submit yourself for it, they pick out finalists, and they you are mystery shopped and interviewed,” said Hazel.
“There are five finalists in Northern Ireland and they send you a criteria of questions and request that you answer them beforehand, so they get a better insight.
“This year they did it differently because they wanted to chat to the staff as well. Normally it would just be the owner or manager. They were here for about an hour and a half!
“It is great for the staff, because they’re working hard. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service no matter who they are, but it’s nice to have it recognised that you’re doing it right.
“Customers are delighted for us. We’ve only been able to put this one on our Facebook page but I’ve had customers ringing in to say they saw we had won it.
“They like to see you win it as well, because they can be confident in coming back to us every year.”
Group Editor of TTG, Pippa Jacks, acknowledged this was a difficult period for the industry.
She said: "The travel industry is currently facing a monumental challenge, but the coronavirus crisis has created an opportunity for the nation’s best travel agencies to shine.
“Each agency that earned a place in our Top 50 list this year worked hard to impress our judges and should feel incredibly proud of what they have achieved."
The Covid-19 restrictions have meant the staff at Limavady Travel haven’t been able to fully enjoy their success yet.
“The staff are furloughed, but we keep in contact through Messenger and they’re all delighted,” said Hazel.
“The only thing is, normally you get to celebrate when you win an award, but we can’t meet up at the minute! It’ll have to be postponed but we’ll get there in the end-up!”
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