Jimmy Martin Travel in Edinburgh has scooped the title of Scottish Agency of the Year (small) in the Agent Achievement Awards for the second year in a row. The awards, now in their 24th year celebrate achievement in the front-line travel trade and took place in London. More than 850 industry professionals attended the prestigious event. Jimmy Martin Travel is based in Raeburn Place in Stockbridge in the capital and was established in 2001. Jimmy himself has more than 30 years’ experience as a travel agent. The firm employs five staff with some having been there since the day the agency opened its doors.
Jimmy Martin, a former president of the Scottish Passenger Agent’s Association, says of the prestigious award win, “To win this award for the second year in a row is fantastic. Being recognised by our peers as the best in Scotland is great for our team and for our clients. In a world of value for money, increasing solo travel and concerns around traveling post Brexit, travel agents are undergoing a renaissance and a resurgence in business. People value independent advice from experts and the safety net which a travel agent provides.
“Travellers value the personal touch and expertise which we as industry professionals offer. It’s true that technology is hugely important in travel booking, but knowledgeable, welcoming people will always be the most important asset which any travel agent has.”
Recent research (Trekksoft 2019) shows that booking made through agents and affiliates increased in 2018 from 17.5% to 24.3%. Booking.com reports that personal fulfilment is a key driver of holiday choice in 2019 and solo travel is on the increase.
“Travel agents come into their own when there’s a complex itinerary to plan and we’ve certainly seen an increase in recent years for travellers of all generations who are seeking new life skills and the opportunity to learn something new or the chance to volunteer on their trip.
“Similarly, solo travellers value the knowledge we have of the destinations, resorts, facilities and trips and how we can tailor a package to meet their precise needs. Our client often book with us to travel to places they would never have even thought of before – or imagined could be so affordable.”
The awards are considered to be the absolute pinnacle of excellence for the UK travel trade, benchmarking winners as truly excellent. The nominees are voted on by their suppliers. Jimmy Martin Travel beat off competition from four other Scottish agencies to scoop the award.
“Trust in local travel agents has climbed significantly in recent years, particularly with concerns over internet security, online fraud and some airlines and operators facing financial issues. Travellers find that travel agents offer vast choice and value and can find terrific holidays for every budget as well as help and support in the unlikely event that things go wrong. Chat bots and internet searches certainly can’t offer that level of support.”