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 21 and 100 and over 101 vehicles.
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.
Winner, Gold Award: Woods Travel
Woods Travel has provided quality transport for over 47 years and is based in Bognor Regis, West Sussex. It has grown from offering a quality taxi service with two Ford Zodiacs in 1971, to running a fleet of 17 luxury vehicles, employing 50 staff, and taking over 6,000 people on coach holidays each year. It is a fully independent ABTA travel agency and also provides a comprehensive day excursion programme as well as a private hire service for local groups, schools and organisations. Woods believed that it's continued growth is testament to its commitment to the highest level of quality and service. Over 75% of customers have either travelled before with the company or been recommended by another customer. Woods says it is big enough to cope but small enough to care.
The judges commented that the entry shows Woods as a well established family business that has moved with the times and kept up with changing customer customer expectations, while keeping high standards of customer service.
Winner, Silver Award: Bayliss Executive Travel
Established in 2004, Kent based Bayliss Executive Travel pride themselves on being one of the leading operators in the south east of England. Now with a fleet of 16 vehicles and over 30 employees, the company has continued to enjoy steady growth in an increasingly competitive market where more coach operators are appearing and competing for work. Bayliss offers executive class private hire vehicles for schools, groups, businesses, cruise lines for clients such as Eurotunnel, P&O Ferries, Concorde International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and Leger Holidays. It also boasts a number of professional sports clubs as clients, including Kent Cricket, Ebbsfleet United, Margate United, Newport County and Sheffield United. Two years ago, a local secondary school approached Bayliss about operating a school transport service. Applying it's usual high standards, the X1 service was such a success that the X2 service was added last year. The company is also expanding its day break and holidays programme, which it also began two years ago, with a dedicated member of staff and an on site Travel Shop.
This quality operator impressed the judges with a very good entry that narrowly missed the top placing. For a relative newcomer, the company has had a great deal of success and has a strong future ahead.
Finalist: Hythe and Waterside Coaches
Established in the New Forest in 1982, Hythe and Waterside Coaches has 10 'O' licenses covering a variety of coach sizes. It employs 10 full time and two part staff along with a few casual personnel. The company continually strives to improve it's products and services and embraces new technology, staying on top of all current legislation. Work ranges from contracts and private hire to producing an annual holiday brochure and quarterly excursion programme. Holiday bookings can be taken online, via e-mail or by telephone. Being a small company allows it to stay personally in touch with its clients. Hythe and Waterside's customers appreciate its friendly, personal and professional approach.
Who could be nominated?
The awards were open to all operators of coaches for hire to the general public or used on tours and excursions.
... 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. Self-nomination was also acceptable.