Travel Village fine-tunes customer approach after running survey

The boss of the Travel Village Group has vowed to keep all sales channels open and staffed as it rebuilds from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The agency conducted a consumer survey earlier this month in an attempt to improve the relationship between agents and customers, and said it would make the survey an annual fixture after receiving almost 1,000 responses.

The results of the company's first opinion poll in four years were shared with staff today.

The parent of The Travel Village, The Holiday Village and The Cruise Village will conduct a survey every December according to Phil Nuttall.

Customer service, communication, whether customers would recommend the business to others, pandemic performance, booking priorities, and sustainable and charity fundraising were some of the questions asked in the latest survey.

More than 75% of the customers who responded rated the level of customer service as excellent, and more than half said they would likely recommend Travel Village's brands to family and friends.

The trust of the family-run business was rated as a reason to book with them, second only to price, by nearly 98% of customers.

Nuttall said that it has never been more important to understand the relationship between an agent and a customer.

What value do they see in us? What value do they place on what we do for them? Our relationship is going to change from what it was in the past.

He said that the survey gave his agency an opportunity to improve.

John Warr, who joined Travel Village Group in October, said this year's survey gave staff a chance to map the business on what customers liked.

Nuttall said that tour operators wanted to partner with an agency that cares about customer service.

He said that tour operators cannot serve all of their customers directly and that his agents had a role to play. They can't give every customer the same level of service.

18% of customers prefer in store, face to face communication, 32% prefer over the phone, 20% prefer online live chat, and 29% prefer Travel Village's websites.

Warr said that customer-facing teams would be fully-staffed.

All businesses now have to keep all channels of communication open to their clients.

If you close any of these channels, you could lose at least a quarter of your business.

All of our team was on full salary and our phone lines were open during the Pandemic.

Travel Village Group asked customers how important a company's "charitable efforts and sustainable ethics" were when choosing who to book with.

Around 25% said it was very important and around 33% said it was important.

When it came to booking a holiday, Warr said customers did not always follow through with their promises.

He said that they are important, but that he was not sure if customers would choose one operator over another.

Travel Village Group is changing its strapline to "We Give You More" after 30 years of using "Where Customer Care Comes First".

Warr said the new strapline would be on the websites, emails, and the shop front. The strapline will be used by homeworkers at the Holiday Village.

It will donate a portion of commission earned from bookings to Give A Vaccine.

The agency wants to raise £15,000 to fund vaccinations in countries around the world.

Nuttall said the push to support vaccination programmes through Give A Vaccine was driven by the need to do something that their customers will appreciate.

He said that their business is about this. We are giving back. I want people to get in touch with Give A Vaccine.

Travel Village Group is starting a recruitment drive.

Two cruise agents have the biggest-ever bookings.