Travel House has opened a 17th store and revealed plans for at least one more branch by the end of the year as it enjoys a boom in business on the high street.
The Welsh agency’s first store in Pontypridd follows the recruitment of three experienced staff who previously worked for Flamingo Holidays, formerly Tailor Made Travel, in Merthyr Tydfil, 10 miles away.
Head of retail Leanne Williams said the company had been looking to expand after downsizing due to staffing problems after the pandemic. In 2020 it had 23 branches.
The new branch extends the group’s reach farther east in Wales than most of its other stores.
Two of its 17 current shops are temporarily mothballed.
Williams said: “We’re looking at opening one or two more shops by the end of the year, definitely one.”
The new branch, which officially launches this weekend, was previously a photographic shop. It joins Hays Travel and Tui in the town.
Williams said: “Pontypridd wasn’t an area we were originally looking at but this is a good high street location in a town where not even a handful of shops are empty.
“There used to be seven agencies in this town. It’s a good catchment area and a perfect opportunity for us.”
The opening was brought forward from September to June as a result of rising sales and easing restrictions.
Williams added: “During the pandemic, all our business was on social media, but now the majority is walk-in. People want to see agents face-to-face and want that reassurance. Our figures are improving every month.”
She said the company had been keen to ensure the new staff could continue to work together in a location within commuting distance.
“It’s paramount we keep our staff happy and our Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil branch was fully staffed,” she said. “It seemed like perfect timing [to open a new branch] when we were taking on staff with so much experience.”
She admitted there had been “honest conversations” with other store managers to explain the expansion rationale at a time when other shops remained understaffed.
The new branch is still looking to recruit one more full-time staff member and an apprentice, while other staff are also being sought across the network.