Barrhead Travel, one of the UK’s leading travel agencies, is set to close 2023 as its “best ever” trading year as demand for travel continues to soar.
The Glasgow-headquartered travel agency group has celebrated 11 consecutive record-breaking months since January 2023 and has forecast that the month of December will also conclude with record sales. Year to date bookings for the group are up by 26 percent, compared with 2019 sales which, before 2023, was the company’s best trading year.
Barrhead Travel’s performance is bucking the trend on the high street. Despite recent ONS figures indicating that October retail sales fell to the lowest levels since the 2021 lockdowns, the travel group says its retail network is “busier than ever” with sales in-store growing by more than 25 percent. The group attributes its strong retail performance to the continued demand for travel as well as consumers returning to reputable travel agents to book their holidays.
Forward bookings for 2024 are performing particularly well with the agency reporting that customers have been securing their annual holiday plans earlier than usual. Last-minute bookings for winter holidays remain a popular option with around 25 percent of new bookings travelling across the 2023/24 winter period.
Earlier this year, Barrhead Travel confirmed it would pursue further expansion during 2024 with multiple store openings planned for the year ahead. Investment will also be channelled into existing stores for refurbishments, additional full and part time roles, and new technology.
Jacqueline Dobson, President at Barrhead Travel (pictured) said: “Over the last year, we prioritised smart and sustainable growth, which has seen us deliver record breaking results. This year, we will have recorded our highest ever sales and we expect to continue that pace in 2024.
“Holidays remain a spending priority for consumers of all ages. The demand for a reputable travel agent is at an all-time high which is why we believe that now is the time to move ahead with further expansion throughout the UK.
“Retail travel is thriving, and communities across the country are benefiting from busy travel agency stores. Our commitment to investing in retail has never wavered and we’re excited to be bringing new jobs and opportunities as our expansion progresses over the coming 12 months.
“We are in the process of reviewing our new locations and we expect to announce details in the first quarter of 2024.”
Barrhead Travel has also announced the addition of a USA specialist division which will be launching in early 2024 as part of its wider plans for organic growth.