Top Small Fleet Operator
The winners of these awards deliver consistently excellent customer service. The operators demonstrate their success through sustained effort.
They show that they:
- are financially sound
- maintain high operational and engineering standards
- give priority to the Health and Safety of staff and passengers through comprehensive risk management
- invest in their fleet and staff
- form effective partnerships
- identify with and respond to the communities they serve
- always strive to sustain and grow the market for coaches and coach services.
As well as this award for the smaller operators, there are two others for businesses with fleets of between 16 and 50 and over 51 vehicles. There are three awards depending on fleet size, being:
From the winners of these three awards, the judges chose an overall winner, named UK Coach Operator of the Year.
For each of the categories, customer nominations were sought from group organisers and other industry clients. Nominated operators are also invited to submit further information to the judges.The judging process also includes 'mystery shopping' of the nominated operators to test their commitment to customer service.
Who could be nominated?
The awards are open to all operators of coaches for hire to the general public or used on tours and excurions.
... and by whom?
Group organisers and other clients who hire coaches on an occasional or regular basis were asked to nominate the coach company which has delivered the best service to their groups.
Top Small Fleet Operator
Winner: Woods Coaches, Leicester
Woods was established in 1950 with one 29 seater coach, and continues today as a family owned business, though now under the ownership of Kevin Brown. Kevin has worked for the business for 18 years, the last five as MD, and bought the company in May 2011.
A previous winner of an award for innovation in coach travel (2010), the company was praised by the judges for its work to develop the market, and they have some enthusiastic customers, getting numerous nominations in the competition. One customer told us, “everyone enjoys their job and it shows”. Another one said that Woods, “take the time to ensure your trip is as comfortable, informative and friendly as it could possibly be”.
Runner Up: Woods Travel Group, Bognor, West Sussex
Woods Travel have been providing quality transport and holidays for over 40 years, and has grown to run a fleet of 15 vehicles, employ over 40 people and take over 5000 people away each year on our own coach holidays. Woods also have a fully independent ABTA travel agency and provide a full day excursion programme as well as private hire.
The judges were really impressed - and so are the company's customers. "An outstanding coach company," said one, whilst another told us, "Travelling on a Woods Coach is a real pleasure, it's like the road version of Sea Cruising with relaxed stress free and courteous service."
Carol Peters Coach Travel, Ramsgate, Kent
Established 14 years ago, this family firm runs 10 coaches (mainly Setra plus new Volvo 9700, all under 7 years old) on own day trips and charter work. All drivers have CPC and office staff are doing NVQ in office management.
The company has an enthusiastic following and the numerous club/society nominations we received all mentioned good service, helpful drivers and flexibility; one sums it up as 'friendly, accommodating and value for money'. The company has clearly built a reputation as a quality operator in its locality, resulting in regular repeat business and praise by the customers who nominated them.
Grahams Coaches, Colchester, Essex
Grahams Coaches Ltd, Colchester, Essex is a family business, trading for over 40 years, providing executive air-conditioned coaches, mini-coaches, mini-buses and cars for the local community to meet all manner of transport needs.
The firm has a close working relationship with many of its customers who show their appreciation by making Grahams their preferred travel solution. Several of their customers showed their faith too by nominating the firm for this award.
All the company's staff now hold professional qualifications in the form of Certificates of Professional Competence.