Jamaica Gleaner

24 October 2011 - Jamaica Gleaner

The phrase 'Soaring to new heights' was synonymous with the once revered national airline, Air Jamaica, for years, but it more aptly describes Trafalgar Travel, a New Kingston-based travel agency, which opened its doors in 2005. So it's not surprising that after the challenges of the financially turbulent '90s, the agency has scaled the hurdles and maintained a steady course as number one in the industry for five years in a row.

Last Wednesday, the team headed by five partners, journeyed to Sandals Royal in Montego Bay for the annual International Travel Awards presentation and walked away with several top prizes. But it has not been an easy road. The rewards have come through focused planning and using modern technology to the company's full advantage.

New technology

Director Conrad Graham told Outlook that when travel arrangements became as easy as clicking a mouse for anyone with a computer and a credit card, Trafalgar Travel did not roll over and die. Instead, they put plans in place to use the existing technology to enhance their business. The growth began with a Jamaican followed by a Caribbean-wide expansion that presently sees them having branches in St Kitts, Barbados, Trinidad, Nassau, St Martin and more recently Guatemala.

"We took a decision to stop expanding by brick and mortar in Jamaica but instead to expand in technology innovation so that we can handle large accounts," Graham said in an Outlook interview. He revealed that rather than be apprehensive about potential fallout in business resulting from travellers present ability to book online, his company strengthened its capacity to offer a wide range of travel options and the resulting savings to its clients.

What the new technology has done is to give Trafalgar Travel the ability to cater to its customers every travel need from ground to air to hotel to entertainment and all other requirements that they may desire from the start to the end of a trip. This makes things much easier for business travellers and large corporate entities.

"We are now able to provide instant and timely information to CEO's and business executives who are always on the go."

And, as Graham stressed, Trafalgar Travel is not about to change focus. After all, there is no limit to what they can do. "For the future, we will continue to use technology to expand from a mere travel agency to a travel management company. And the recent addition of a marketing department specifically geared to selling our new services is leading that initiative. Online access to tickets does not kill business and is not necessarily cheaper for the user, that's a myth," Graham said.

He pointed out that his company now sees the Internet as a distribution network that enhances the business making them able to do bookings for anywhere in the world, thereby delivering travel solutions to their clients.

For winning the top awards five of the six years since its inception, Graham is gratified. The awards, which are described as the 'Oscars' of the travel industry, are arrived at by major industry players who nominate them in the categories and post them online for voting and tallying. This year, Trafalgar Travel won the Caribbean's Leading Travel Agency award which is an extremely prestigious award, proven to substantially heighten the winner's international profile and provide a highly effective advantage in making its sales and marketing stand out from the rest of its competitors.

The agency has also received the honour of being number one among all carriers and among most hotel chains.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner

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