Coach Travel Programme
This category recognises the use of innovative and original ideas in development and implementation of programmes of coach tours and/or excursions.
The judges are looking for programmes that are well-researched, and developed in partnership with quality suppliers and attractions.
Winner, Gold Award
Shearings Holidays 2016 Travel Programme - Shearings Holidays
Shearings is the UK's largest operator of escorted tours with over 114 years experience of planning and providing holidays, now serving nearly 500,000 customers every year. Tours operate all year round with a huge diversity of holidays on offer. Shearings' travel programme offers a broad selection of UK and European destinations, with a wide choice of themes and durations across all seasons, including an expanded programme of UK Winter Specials. Other additions include more than 50 new themed breaks, additional continental river cruises and expansion of holidays offered with sea crossings from the north of England. Following customer research, the Grand Tourer programme has been enhanced and eight more UK and European itineraries added.
Shearings continues to impress the judges with its extensive customer research and ever expanding programme of short breaks and holidays meeting the needs of the wide variety of its customers.
Winner, Silver Award
Britain & Europe by Coach 2017 - Crusader Holidays
Crusader Holidays was one of the pioneers of affordable coach holidays and short breaks to Europe, having been in the market for over 40 years. The company is still proud of its impressive programme of coach tours throughout the UK and Europe, delivering quality and value to its customers. For 2017, Crusader worked hard to refresh its programme to complement its new look brochure, which has been completely re-designed. Customer questionnaires and feedback, together with tour drivers' comments and input, were carefully scrutinised with several new features included for 2017. Bookings from new customers are up 20% from 2016.
The judges noted that the company continues to innovate, and the overhaul of the brochure alongside an enhanced travel programme, has clearly paid dividends with so many new customers.
Winner, Bronze Award
Great Britain and Europe 2016 by Coach, Air and Sea - Epsom Coaches
Epsom Coaches says it offers a tempting array of well researched tours staying at some of the finest hotels, travelling on the best touring coaches with excursions and home pick ups included. All holidays are escorted by a tour manager and the company added 24 new tours to its programme including Cardiff and Royal Mint, Brittany, a two centre holiday in Tuscany and around Lake Garda and a selection of tours aimed at solo travellers. Following very positive feedback from customers, Epsom has also increased the number of its 'farewell lunches', whereby customer are given a substantial cooked meal at lunchtime on the final day of a tour so that they don't feel the need to cook a meal themselves at home in the evening.
The judges noted Epsom's quality travel programme with good outcomes and achievement, including the expansion of its innovative farewell lunches on holidays.
Who could be nominated?
The award was open to operators of coach tour and excursion programmes on sale to the general public.
… and by whom?
Nominations are accepted from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
Decisions were based on the quality of the submissions made, and the extent to which they addressed the criteria.
Entry submissions needed to:
- Describe the programme involved.
- State whether a partnership was involved. This could include local and tourist authorities, and/or providers of services (e.g. meals, hotels, admission tickets, ferry services)
- Describe the objectives set for the initiative.
- Describe how:
- needs and potential needs were assessed, including details of market evaluation and customer research
- potential customers were informed of the improved or new product(s)
- interest in, or desire for, the product(s) was assessed
- the research and original thinking involved.
- Supply evidence of the success of the programme (for example in terms of patronage, revenue or other appropriate indicators such as seat occupancy)
- Describe any future plans for further development.
- Include any relevant supporting material.