Independent travel agency Polka Dot Travel has reopened the majority of its branches in anticipation of demand for foreign holidays.
The company – which has 19 branches in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford, the Staffordshire Moolands, South Cheshire and North Wales – has reopened 14 shops after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated advice about travelling abroad.
Since the travel industry came to a halt in March as a result of the lockdown, Polka Dot Travel’s 100-strong team have been working with customers to cancel or reschedule bookings.
Around 60 per cent of customers who had trips cancelled opted to re-book their holiday for 2021 and in many cases enhanced it with a longer stay or a higher star rating hotel.
While many of those who opted for a refund have since re-booked.
Now Polka Dot Travel has reopened its branches to encourage people to have the confidence to book a trip through an agent.
Mark Johnson, director at Polka Dot Travel, said: “Before coronavirus there was a large proportion of travellers, particularly of a certain demographic, that would book a trip over social media or over the phone with little input from an agent, because we have become so accustomed to purchasing online.
“However, we anticipate that travellers will want an increased level of support and reassurance, as we slowly return to normal.
“This means customer service, particularly face to face, to instil confidence in our customers is key. The problems caused to travel arrangements by Covid-19 has reminded consumers of the benefits of booking through an agent.
“Therefore, we think the sooner our stores open the better. We have all the required safety measures in place for staff and customers and hope that, now we have the quarantine-free destinations, the industry will start getting back to how we knew it.”
The stores which have re-opened are Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Nantwich, Llandudno, Market Drayton, Rhyl, Newcastle under Lyme, Longton, Hanley, Cannock, Leek, Lichfield, Stafford.