A new independent travel agency bringing a fresh approach to booking a holiday has launched at the growing Flemingate retail and leisure destination.
Beverley Travel has opened in a 1,000 sq ft unit at the Flemingate centre in the thriving East Yorkshire market town.
The new business has created five jobs, including three experienced team members who previously worked for Thomas Cook, and a fourth member of staff who has worked in the leisure and business travel industry for several years.
Together, they offer customers almost eight decades of combined travel industry experience and have also travelled extensively themselves.
Owner and travel director Karl Douglas was born in Beverley and moved back to the town with his wife and three children seven years ago.
He believes there is a gap in the market for Beverley Travel’s “inspiring journeys” business model which aims to provide a personal and tailored experience for every customer.
He said: “This is something I have wanted to pursue for some time and I want to do it differently from established operators.
“In a typical travel agency, there are usually rows of desks, there isn’t much privacy and, if everyone is busy, you have to try to catch someone’s eye to get served. That’s now an outdated formula.
“We’re also offering advantages over online travel booking. The Internet is a wonderful thing, but booking online is not always the best option, especially when travelling afar. It can be confusing and it’s not always clear who you are dealing with.
“We’re aiming to turn booking travel into an experience for our customers. We want people to come into the store and enjoy the whole experience, from start to finish.
“There will be someone to greet them in a proper reception area, an informal area with sofas where people can sit, chat and go through brochures, and we will be introducing screens so customers can do their own research. There is also a private area for bookings.
“We’re so passionate about what we do and we’re massively excited about our new venture.”
Beverley Travel is the latest business to open at Flemingate, which is owned by Hull-based regeneration company Wykeland Group and is experiencing ever-growing footfall.
Wykeland Property director David Donkin said: “We’re pleased to have been able to work flexibly with Karl to enable him to establish Beverley Travel and its business model that has personal service to customers at its heart.
“This new business will bring something different and attractive to Flemingate. Being part of the centre will also provide a very visible presence and strong football to help Beverley Travel to build awareness and grow its customer base.”
Mr Douglas has worked in the travel industry for two years, running a franchise travel agency from home, but has now made the decision to become fully independent, enabling him to offer more choice to his customers through his new store-based business.
Mr Douglas believes the Beverley retail scene will continue to go from strength to strength due to the healthy mix of local independent and national stores and the town’s vibrant leisure offering.
He added: “Beverley is bucking the national trend as far as retail is concerned. There are very few empty units in the area and residents are very loyal, with a far higher percentage of spend in the local area than the national average.
“Flemingate has brought a modern touch to Beverley and complements the heart of the town centre. We’re a brand new business in an industry that takes a while to develop a customer base and Wykeland has been fantastic in helping us through that process.
“The key to our approach is really getting to know each customer and building up a picture of what they want, then selecting the right supplier, or combination of suppliers. We’re not tied to any provider of travel and we’re committed to doing what’s best for the client.
“We can arrange two-week package holidays, UK hotel breaks and worldwide tours, as well as organising touring adventures, and we specialise in cruises and travel experiences which require personalisation. We can also arrange travel for businesses, schools and sports and social groups.”
Mr Douglas said Beverley Travel customers can be assured their bookings and payments are safe, as they are covered by the ATOL and ABTA travel protection schemes.
Beverley Travel is located in next to the InflataNation inflatable theme park and is open seven days per week – from 9.30am to 6pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 9.30am-5pm on Saturday; and 11am-4pm on Sunday. Out of hours appointments can also be arranged.
Flemingate features a successful blend of leading national retail and leisure brands and local independents, as well as being home to the East Riding College campus, an 80-bed Premier Inn hotel and a six-screen digital cinema, Parkway.
The centre has extended Beverley town centre and played a key role in making the town the flourishing location it is today. Since Flemingate opened three years ago, big brands such as Jack Wills, Jo Malone, Hotel Chocolat, Mint Velvet and The White Company have all moved into Beverley.