Business interview: Sharon Munro, Barrhead Travel – The Scotsman #where #to

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Business interview: Sharon Munro, Barrhead Travel

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HOLIDAY companies have faced tough times during the recession but Sharon Munro, the boss of Glasgow-based Barrhead Travel, enjoys her job so much sometimes she pinches herself, writes Erikka Askeland.

Munro, 39, has been with the company her father Bill founded in 1968 since she got her first part-time job there as a Saturday girl.

In 2007 she led a management buy out in a succession plan that saw ownership of the group remain with the family. Under her stewardship, the company has seen dramatic growth and faced the challenges brought to the industry by internet booking and low-cost airlines head on.

Next month the firm will open a flagship corporate travel boutique in Glasgow. The move comes as the company is bringing on board £14 million worth of corporate travel business.

The group has also recently developed a customer management technology platform, dubbed Nevis. The platform has provided the company with a means of growing its franchises as it expands the management tools available to fanchisees. Nevis will also prove a beachhead into new markets – Munro has her sights set on licensing the technology to Australian firms as well as looking for acquisitions down under. “We think Nevis has got huge potential,” she says.

But holidays are still the firm’s top priority. Barrhead’s expanding high street presence is an unusual facet of the company’s success, running contrary to the belief that traditional travel agents, where you sit in front of a desk flipping through a glossy brochure, are a thing of the past.

She says: “People have been telling me for years that when the web came along that would be the end of the travel agent. Low cost carriers came along – again they said it was the end of the travel agent.

“More of our business will be transacted online in the future. But there are a lot of products – cruising, long haul – that still need travel agents. We try to offer products that are unique, tours that are a wee bit different. Sometimes I pinch myself, it’s so exciting and no two days are the same.”

Barrhead’s shops usually feature holiday themed fit outs and increasingly the latest technology to showcase dream holiday destinations.

The firm recently upgraded its premises at Silverburn shopping centre, moving into a bigger shop unit, and Munro has plans to revamp Oswald Street in Glasgow at the end of the year.

“We have point and click screens where you can watch a video about the destination, and iPads so customers can use them to browse. If customers want help they can get it, or if they want to book on the iPad they can. We are trying to reinvent ourselves all the time.”

In December, Barrhead acquired Larbert-based The Cruise Specialist, making it the largest cruise retailer in the UK. Meanwhile, in April last year it opened up a call centre in Cumbria after Thomas Cook closed down its operation there.

“We saw an opportunity to pick up some really good quality, experienced people who were knowledgeable about cruises. It takes a long time to train people on the knowledge of the different cruise ships and the different options,” she says.

She agrees that Thomas Cook’s crisis has been Barrhead’s opportunity. The 172-year-old group recently announced it was cutting thousands of jobs after struggling with a slump in sales that has forced it to renegotiate bank loans and sell off planes and stores to lighten its debt load. But Munro is quick to say that she thinks very highly of the group’s new chief executive, Harriet Green.

“Harriet is doing what she has to do to save the business. I think she’s done a great job. I feel for the people who have been made redundant, we have been very sad for them, but for us it has been an opportunity to take on new people. We will be taking on about 20 to 40 Thomas Cook people in the next few months.”

Since Munro has taken the helm, the business has grown rapidly. In 2007, Barrhead had eight high street shops with a turnover of £68m. Munro says the firm is now on track for a turnover of £200m this year and has 52 stores, 27 of which are franchised operations.

Dad Bill remains a shareholder and the chairman. Having a former chief executive as chairman can sometimes prove tricky to manage for any new boss with fresh ideas, let alone one who is also your father.

“We’ve had our moments,” says Munro. “We are both very passionate about the business. He’s still involved in the strategy. It’s great to have him there, he’s got a wealth of knowledge. Sometimes when you are at the top of any business it can be quite lonely. I’m fortunate that I’ve got someone to talk to who has been there.

“It’s my decision and he supports me, He challenges us, acts as a devil’s advocate and makes sure we know what we want to do.”

But is she the boss? “Yes”, she says quietly. “I hate to say it but yes.”

The family tradition that Munro continues to espouse is a healthy scepticism of debt. While Munro had bank backing behind the MBO, she says that’s now all paid back.

A company like Barrhead – growing fast, investing in expansion and technology yet debt free – is probably just the sort that banks would lend to if it wanted to buy a fleet of aeroplanes or swallow a rival, but Munro is reticent.

“The thing about us is we take the responsibility of having 750 employees very seriously. We will continue to grow and expand but we will do that in a controlled way.

“We take calculated risks. We want to be here in another 20 years.”

Born: 1972 in Glasgow

Education: Laurel Bank School in Glasgow

First job: I had a paper round while still at school, earning a penny a paper, and also was a Saturday girl at Barrhead Travel.

Ambition while at school: To work with disabled or underprivileged children

Car: Porsche Panamera

Kindle or book? Book

Music: Everything from Pavarotti to Blondie to Daft Punk





09/09/2017

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Barrhead Travel Guide: Barrhead, Alberta (AB) #travel #credit #cards

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01/08/2017

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Barrhead Travel Agent UK #magellan #travel

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Barrhead Travel

Key Features at Barrhead Travel travel:

  • 24/7 online travel booking system
  • Special discounts on late travel deals
  • Optional holiday travel insurance can be bought
  • Store finder to locate nearest Barrhead Travel high street branch or shop

compare Barrhead Travel features with other UK travel agents

Categories at Barrhead Travel:

Contact Details for Barrhead Travel:

Telephone Number: 0871 226 1052

Address: Barrhead, Glasgow City Centre Superstore, 85 Oswald Street, Glasgow G1 4PA

Email: Use online form to contact Barhead

Website URL: www.barrheadtravel.co.uk

Barhead Travel has been operating for over 30 years and throughout this time they have expanded from an initial shop in Barrhead (Glasgow) employing 5 travel consultants into one of the UK’s largest truly independent travel companies with 400 employees. They offer millions of low cost holidays, flights, cruises, city breaks and hotels online and or through ones of their stores.

Barhead also compares prices from hundreds of their suppliers in order to constantly to find the best deal on the market for you. BarrheadTravel is fully committed to providing competitive travel while maintaining high levels of service and their global reservations system means they’re able to meet the needs of any UK consumer looking for travel within, or leaving, the UK.

Why Book with Barrhead Travel?

Booking at Barhead Travel combines the best qualities of an independent travel agency with an ability to negotiate the best deals from all tour operators due to their purchasing strength. Any discount is also passed directly to you when you book your travel with them.





01/08/2017

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Barrhead Travel Guide: Barrhead, Alberta (AB) #airline #travel #tickets

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09. Local Information

    Lodging Tours Activities Visitor Attractions Restaurants Bars Shopping Transportation Business Index Reviews

Business Owners/Managers

If you want to increase your exposure to the millions of people who come to WorldWeb.com each month to plan their trips and vacations, please refer to our advertising information.





11/06/2017

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Barrhead Travel director defends anti-Yes memo – The Scotsman #travel #writing

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Barrhead Travel director defends anti-Yes memo

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SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: A director of Barrhead Travel has defended his decision to send out a company-wide email in which he says a yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum would be a disaster .

Non-executive director Bill Munro sent out a memo to all staff on February 24 this year in which he warned of the consequences that Scotland becoming independent would have for the travel retailer.

The email includes points from a report by “banking expert” Robert Lyddon on the fiscal implications of Scottish independence .

The memo read: “For Barrhead Travel and most if not all travel companies it will be a complete disaster, especially within branches in England and Ireland.

“37% of our business comes from England and we would not be able to trade outwith Scotland due to Scotland being outwith the EU and English regulations for at least three years.

“The devil is on the detail and as the weeks pass and more is discovered the magnitude of the impending disaster should there be a yes vote becomes ever more apparent.”

Bill Munro said the views expressed in the email were his own and not that of the company.

“I decided to share my personal opinion which is that independence would not be good for Scotland, its businesses or its consumers.

“One of my main concerns is that of the financial protection of the Scottish travelling public which would be under

threat in an independent Scotland. Second to that is the uncertainty of cross border trading which I believe will be impacted negatively, a concern especially for businesses with interests outside of Scotland.

“The opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company. Just as I have the right to express my own opinion, I respect that is true of everyone in Scotland, including the 800 employees of Barrhead Travel who will make their own views clear throughout the democratic process.”

Labour MP Jim Murphy, whose constituency includes the firm’s Barrhead headquarters, criticised the actions of independence supporters who have criticised the company on Twitter.

“Barrhead Travel is yet another example of an employer in Scotland saying that being part of the UK is better for their business. Having access to a single UK market of sixty three million people, rather than five million, means Scotland’s firms have more opportunities to thrive and employ more people. Where is the sense in putting a barrier between Scottish businesses and their customers elsewhere in the UK?

“Businesses still aren’t being told what would replace the Pound and how we would get back into the EU or on what terms. Asking Scotland’s employers to hope that it will be alright on the night isn’t good enough.

“Being part of the UK means we can have the best of both worlds – a strong Scottish Parliament, with the guarantee of more powers, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Independence puts that at risk.

“Barrhead Travel is a real Scottish success story to be proud of. The nationalists’ response to the company saying they want to stay part of the UK is a new low. This is the worst type of negative politics from Yes campaigners.”

Business for Scotland expressed surprise at the memo sent, last month, to the staff at Barrhead Travel.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, Chief Executive of Business for Scotland said:

“As recently as last week Bill Munro, of Barrhead Travel, was on STV saying he wanted, as many people do, to know what’s best for Scotland, and like other voters that’s what he was looking for.

“He went on to say that the didn’t think there were currently sufficient answers to the many questions he still has.

“Business for Scotland believes the business case is clear. The idea that in the event of a Yes vote, for example, there would be restrictions on trade, as outlined in the memo, doesn’t make any sense. Day in, day out there is free trading taking place between independent countries.

“Business for Scotland would be happy to outline the overwhelming case for independence to Bill Munro and let him see why we believe it is the business opportunity of a lifetime.”





11/06/2017

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Barrhead Travel director defends anti-Yes memo – The Scotsman #srs #travels

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Barrhead Travel director defends anti-Yes memo

410

Have your say

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: A director of Barrhead Travel has defended his decision to send out a company-wide email in which he says a yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum would be a disaster .

Non-executive director Bill Munro sent out a memo to all staff on February 24 this year in which he warned of the consequences that Scotland becoming independent would have for the travel retailer.

The email includes points from a report by “banking expert” Robert Lyddon on the fiscal implications of Scottish independence .

The memo read: “For Barrhead Travel and most if not all travel companies it will be a complete disaster, especially within branches in England and Ireland.

“37% of our business comes from England and we would not be able to trade outwith Scotland due to Scotland being outwith the EU and English regulations for at least three years.

“The devil is on the detail and as the weeks pass and more is discovered the magnitude of the impending disaster should there be a yes vote becomes ever more apparent.”

Bill Munro said the views expressed in the email were his own and not that of the company.

“I decided to share my personal opinion which is that independence would not be good for Scotland, its businesses or its consumers.

“One of my main concerns is that of the financial protection of the Scottish travelling public which would be under

threat in an independent Scotland. Second to that is the uncertainty of cross border trading which I believe will be impacted negatively, a concern especially for businesses with interests outside of Scotland.

“The opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company. Just as I have the right to express my own opinion, I respect that is true of everyone in Scotland, including the 800 employees of Barrhead Travel who will make their own views clear throughout the democratic process.”

Labour MP Jim Murphy, whose constituency includes the firm’s Barrhead headquarters, criticised the actions of independence supporters who have criticised the company on Twitter.

“Barrhead Travel is yet another example of an employer in Scotland saying that being part of the UK is better for their business. Having access to a single UK market of sixty three million people, rather than five million, means Scotland’s firms have more opportunities to thrive and employ more people. Where is the sense in putting a barrier between Scottish businesses and their customers elsewhere in the UK?

“Businesses still aren’t being told what would replace the Pound and how we would get back into the EU or on what terms. Asking Scotland’s employers to hope that it will be alright on the night isn’t good enough.

“Being part of the UK means we can have the best of both worlds – a strong Scottish Parliament, with the guarantee of more powers, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Independence puts that at risk.

“Barrhead Travel is a real Scottish success story to be proud of. The nationalists’ response to the company saying they want to stay part of the UK is a new low. This is the worst type of negative politics from Yes campaigners.”

Business for Scotland expressed surprise at the memo sent, last month, to the staff at Barrhead Travel.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, Chief Executive of Business for Scotland said:

“As recently as last week Bill Munro, of Barrhead Travel, was on STV saying he wanted, as many people do, to know what’s best for Scotland, and like other voters that’s what he was looking for.

“He went on to say that the didn’t think there were currently sufficient answers to the many questions he still has.

“Business for Scotland believes the business case is clear. The idea that in the event of a Yes vote, for example, there would be restrictions on trade, as outlined in the memo, doesn’t make any sense. Day in, day out there is free trading taking place between independent countries.

“Business for Scotland would be happy to outline the overwhelming case for independence to Bill Munro and let him see why we believe it is the business opportunity of a lifetime.”





01/05/2017

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Travel: LATE DEALS FROM BARRHEAD TRAVEL. Free Online Library #great #travel

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travel: LATE DEALS FROM BARRHEAD TRAVEL.

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Flying from Glasgow on December 3, seven nights on Fuerteventura, staying at the three-star Oasis Dunas on self-catering from pounds 199 per person.

Flying from Edinburgh on December 7, three nights in Milan staying at the threestar La Residenza Hotel on bed and breakfast from pounds 185 per person.

Flying from Glasgow on December 8, seven nights on Gran Canaria, staying at the two-star Castillo Del Sol on self-catering from pounds 219 per person.

For more information call 0141 304 5800 or visit www.barrheadtravel.co.uk Late deals from Direct Holidays

Flying from Glasgow on December 12, seven nights in Tenerife staying at the three-star Tamaimo Tropical Aparthotel in Los Gigantes on all-inclusive from pounds 243 per person.

Flying from Glasgow on December 11, seven nights in Lanzarote staying at the three-star Paradise Island Aparthotel in Playa Blanca on all-inclusive from pounds 412 per person.

Flying from Gasgow on December 6, seven nights in Gran Canaria staying at the three-tar Cumana Apartments in Puerto Rico on selfcatering from pounds 233 per person.

Call 0871 664 7764 or log onto www.directholidays.co.uk

COPYRIGHT 2008 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday

No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.





04/04/2017

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Business interview: Sharon Munro, Barrhead Travel – The Scotsman #cheap #flights

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Business interview: Sharon Munro, Barrhead Travel

Have your say

HOLIDAY companies have faced tough times during the recession but Sharon Munro, the boss of Glasgow-based Barrhead Travel, enjoys her job so much sometimes she pinches herself, writes Erikka Askeland.

Munro, 39, has been with the company her father Bill founded in 1968 since she got her first part-time job there as a Saturday girl.

In 2007 she led a management buy out in a succession plan that saw ownership of the group remain with the family. Under her stewardship, the company has seen dramatic growth and faced the challenges brought to the industry by internet booking and low-cost airlines head on.

Next month the firm will open a flagship corporate travel boutique in Glasgow. The move comes as the company is bringing on board £14 million worth of corporate travel business.

The group has also recently developed a customer management technology platform, dubbed Nevis. The platform has provided the company with a means of growing its franchises as it expands the management tools available to fanchisees. Nevis will also prove a beachhead into new markets – Munro has her sights set on licensing the technology to Australian firms as well as looking for acquisitions down under. “We think Nevis has got huge potential,” she says.

But holidays are still the firm’s top priority. Barrhead’s expanding high street presence is an unusual facet of the company’s success, running contrary to the belief that traditional travel agents, where you sit in front of a desk flipping through a glossy brochure, are a thing of the past.

She says: “People have been telling me for years that when the web came along that would be the end of the travel agent. Low cost carriers came along – again they said it was the end of the travel agent.

“More of our business will be transacted online in the future. But there are a lot of products – cruising, long haul – that still need travel agents. We try to offer products that are unique, tours that are a wee bit different. Sometimes I pinch myself, it’s so exciting and no two days are the same.”

Barrhead’s shops usually feature holiday themed fit outs and increasingly the latest technology to showcase dream holiday destinations.

The firm recently upgraded its premises at Silverburn shopping centre, moving into a bigger shop unit, and Munro has plans to revamp Oswald Street in Glasgow at the end of the year.

“We have point and click screens where you can watch a video about the destination, and iPads so customers can use them to browse. If customers want help they can get it, or if they want to book on the iPad they can. We are trying to reinvent ourselves all the time.”

In December, Barrhead acquired Larbert-based The Cruise Specialist, making it the largest cruise retailer in the UK. Meanwhile, in April last year it opened up a call centre in Cumbria after Thomas Cook closed down its operation there.

“We saw an opportunity to pick up some really good quality, experienced people who were knowledgeable about cruises. It takes a long time to train people on the knowledge of the different cruise ships and the different options,” she says.

She agrees that Thomas Cook’s crisis has been Barrhead’s opportunity. The 172-year-old group recently announced it was cutting thousands of jobs after struggling with a slump in sales that has forced it to renegotiate bank loans and sell off planes and stores to lighten its debt load. But Munro is quick to say that she thinks very highly of the group’s new chief executive, Harriet Green.

“Harriet is doing what she has to do to save the business. I think she’s done a great job. I feel for the people who have been made redundant, we have been very sad for them, but for us it has been an opportunity to take on new people. We will be taking on about 20 to 40 Thomas Cook people in the next few months.”

Since Munro has taken the helm, the business has grown rapidly. In 2007, Barrhead had eight high street shops with a turnover of £68m. Munro says the firm is now on track for a turnover of £200m this year and has 52 stores, 27 of which are franchised operations.

Dad Bill remains a shareholder and the chairman. Having a former chief executive as chairman can sometimes prove tricky to manage for any new boss with fresh ideas, let alone one who is also your father.

“We’ve had our moments,” says Munro. “We are both very passionate about the business. He’s still involved in the strategy. It’s great to have him there, he’s got a wealth of knowledge. Sometimes when you are at the top of any business it can be quite lonely. I’m fortunate that I’ve got someone to talk to who has been there.

“It’s my decision and he supports me, He challenges us, acts as a devil’s advocate and makes sure we know what we want to do.”

But is she the boss? “Yes”, she says quietly. “I hate to say it but yes.”

The family tradition that Munro continues to espouse is a healthy scepticism of debt. While Munro had bank backing behind the MBO, she says that’s now all paid back.

A company like Barrhead – growing fast, investing in expansion and technology yet debt free – is probably just the sort that banks would lend to if it wanted to buy a fleet of aeroplanes or swallow a rival, but Munro is reticent.

“The thing about us is we take the responsibility of having 750 employees very seriously. We will continue to grow and expand but we will do that in a controlled way.

“We take calculated risks. We want to be here in another 20 years.”

Born: 1972 in Glasgow

Education: Laurel Bank School in Glasgow

First job: I had a paper round while still at school, earning a penny a paper, and also was a Saturday girl at Barrhead Travel.

Ambition while at school: To work with disabled or underprivileged children

Car: Porsche Panamera

Kindle or book? Book

Music: Everything from Pavarotti to Blondie to Daft Punk





14/03/2017

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Barrhead Travel Guide: Barrhead, Alberta (AB) #hotels #cheap

#barhead travel
#

09. Local Information

    Lodging Tours Activities Visitor Attractions Restaurants Bars Shopping Transportation Business Index Reviews

Business Owners/Managers

If you want to increase your exposure to the millions of people who come to WorldWeb.com each month to plan their trips and vacations, please refer to our advertising information.





13/02/2017

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