SPECIALIST education travel firm WST Travel has doubled its business in the past 12 months – and is on target to do the same next year.
The firm, which is based at Bristol Avenue, Bispham, has increased its staff from five to 18 – the last five of whom were recruited at the end of 2011.
WST was founded as Wirral Schools Travel in 1991 and was bought by a team of educational travel specialists from the Fylde coast in 2010 and moved to Bispham.
Managing director Deborah Beckett said: “Our confidence in our plan and in our people has clearly been justified as we increased business by 70 per cent in our first year.
“We are almost 100 per cent up year on year for 2012 and forward bookings for 2013 suggest we will increase by in excess of 100 per cent again.
“We believed that as a result of the consolidation in the educational travel market over the last few years, there was an opportunity for a highly-experienced and specialist team to deliver an educational experience totally geared to the specific needs of each school or college.”
Head of customer relations Sian Belfield said the last five staff to be taken on have been brought into the business at a time when they will be able to learn skills and knowledge over the next year so they are able, “to give teachers what they are paying for”.
She added: “You have to recruit the right people who are flexible and trustworthy – we can give them the skills and the knowledge.”
Staff at the firm are experts in school subject areas, meaning a history teacher will always be coming back to the same trip booker no matter where they need to visit.
Sian added: “A teacher will know where to go for a First World War trip, but perhaps not how to get it together and about the bureaucracy.
“My job is to make sure we delight the customer – give them the WST factor.
“And so far our feedback forms put us in the top 90 per cent for customer satisfaction.”
Chairman David Craven added: “This year we’ve budgeted to double business and next year we will be well over.
“The projections are very encouraging.
“And we’re already a cash positive business so don’t need to look for funding for future planned growth.”