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David Burling’s Back to the Floor Experience

David BurlingDavid Burling, Managing Director for Thomson and First Choice, rolled up his sleeves on Saturday 21st January to help out at one of our retail shops and go ‘Back to the Floor’.

“January is always one of our busiest times of year as people’s thoughts turn away from the misery of January to holidays and sunshine. Traditionally it’s one of our busiest sales periods as all the tour operators and airlines launch sales to encourage customers to book their holidays early.

Nowhere is busier then in our network of over 850 retail shops, which see thousands of customers passing through the doors requesting brochures, quizzing our agents on where the best hotels are and booking holidays to make sure they get a coveted free child place!

On Saturday 21st January I, and many of the board directors here at Thomson and First Choice, went back to the floor to help out our retail staff on what is traditionally one of our biggest weekends of the year.

Thomson David BurlingI joined the team at the Thomson Uxbridge shop, not just because it’s near to where I live, but also because it’s where Billy Leighton, our travel advisor of the year for 2011 works. I wanted to see what great looked like and pick up top tips from one of our best agents.

Our retail network has had a strong January overall, and I was pleased to see that despite the current economic climate and the depressing news stories we are affronted with by the media , customers were very upbeat. If anything it seemed that their holiday is more important than ever, and people are looking to sacrifice other luxuries and treats to save for it.

I was really impressed by the customer service offered at the shop and our agents’ knowledge of destinations and hotels. They did not just have a good understanding of Thomson and First Choice hotels, but also knowledge on cruises, multi-centres and more complex itineraries, to really assist customers in booking the right holiday for them. In particular. people were asking about our exclusive hotel concepts Sensatori and Holiday Villages, and those that had visited one of them were keen to try out another one. This was wonderful to hear as we pour a lot of resources into getting these hotels right – from ensuring that we have a great hotel to start with, to training a team of entertainers, child care reps and holiday advisors and then marketing and promoting the hotels.

Unsurprisingly a lot of our customers were looking for a good deal, and the team used all of their resources to try and find the right holiday for them. Knowing where the best offers are is vital to closing the sale. In head office we have a large team of people working on our pricing and deciding how much all the holidays should cost. It was fascinating for me to see how these decisions the commercial team make, are trickled down to the store. The staff knew all the offers we released on Friday, and in some cases had also worked out where there were free child places on peak dates so they could quickly and easily give the offers to their customers. This greatly impressed me, and more importantly our customers.

I spent a lot of the day making tea for customers and the team and chatting to them whilst they were waiting to be seen to by our agents. In terms of lessons learnt I saw how important it was for the agents to have excellent product knowledge as customers ask so many different questions. I think the Uxbridge shop is really well run, and in terms of improvements the only things I can think of are to provide more things for kids to do whilst their mums and dads are booking their holidays. And also buy a bigger kettle so the January Saturday assistant (me) can make the tea quicker when the shop is full!

Amanda Hawley the Retail Manager of the Uxbridge Branch said: “We really loved having David with us on the Saturday and he was a fantastic asset to the team making tea and keeping the customers chatting whilst they were waiting to see us. I was very impressed by his product knowledge and the level of detail he knew about the hotels we go to and sell. I hope David can pop by another time, when we are not quite so busy!”

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10 Responses to “Our 2016 Thomson Holidays Have Arrived…”

  1. annamarie10@live.co.uk' Annamariecasey

    How much would it be to book four all inclusive passengers on any of your cruises at the end of September 2016

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello Anna-Marie, We wouldn’t be able to provide quotes over Social Media. However if you call our Cruise Specialists on 0203 6361 862 they’ll be more than happy to find you the perfect itinerary. ^Daniel

  2. margaretyoung3@btinternet.com' margaret young

    Hi i leave for my holiday on the 28 May 15 we have two children traveling aged 2 and 4.will you be letting customers know when you are refunding APD
    kind regards
    Maegaret

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello Margaret, The Air Passenger Duty (APD) will automatically be refunded in due time, providing you are eligible. It’s taking a lot longer than we expected to refund due to the amount of refunds that need to be processed. If the balance is outstanding then this will automatically be deducted. If the balance has been paid then a cheque will be issued with the relevant refund amount. ^Daniel

  3. karlsibley@btinternet.com' Karl

    You clearly are not adhering to the following statement on your blog “and all the adjustments for bookings not paid in full will be made by the end of February.” It is now the end of April and our outstanding balance is due in one week but has not been adjusted. Having just spoken to your call centre in India, with all its inherent communications problems. I gather that it may be corrected in time or I have to pay more than I should and hope for a refund at a later date. I know its only £13 per child under 12 years, but why is it so difficult when to correct when you can put your website prices up and down virtually instantly? A cynic might think that you are being deliberately awkward. Maybe time to look at another ITC for 2016.

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello Karl, We do apologise for the delay in the refund process of the Air Passenger Duty (APD). We do have a dedicated team who are working through these as a priority. I’ll get the details fed back to my Web Team to look into updating the website. ^Daniel

  4. jwalsh12@btinternet.com' linda walsh

    I have 2 package holidays booked with Thomsons in 2015 and 1 flight only. None of these journeys includes children.
    My question is will the APD refund apply to all those journeys for adults.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello Linda, The Air Passenger Duty (APD) is only applicable for children travelling within Economy. If you take a look at the following link it will details in more information http://bit.ly/1HdLNE2. ^Daniel

  5. nat2nat85@hotmail.com' nat grahan

    In September 14 booked to go to Mexico in august 15. My package includes 2 children’s seats yet I’ve heard nothing about a refund for apd for the children’s seats nor have I had my invoice ammended! Why??
    I’ve most definitely paid the apd as this wasn’t being talked about until December 14.
    Could somebody please reply ?

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello Nat, The Air Passenger Duty (APD) will automatically be refunded in due time, providing you are eligible. It’s taking a lot longer than we expected to refund due to the amount of refunds that need to be processed. If the balance is outstanding then this will automatically be deducted. If the balance has been paid then a cheque will be issued with the relevant refund. ^Daniel

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