- Monday 06 February 2017
We are extremely proud to have won the award after 43 years in business and are tremendously grateful and appreciative of everyone who has supported us and booked their holidays with us over the last 43 years. We promise to continue to deliver the same excellent level of customer service and product knowledge to all customers old and new.
This annual and well established awards ceremony was a wonderful night in Dublin's Mansion House.
“We are unique because we have three pillars to the company,” says energetic director Michael Doorley. First of these is Shandon Travel Retail, which deals with all the usual package holidays, plus cruises, senior travel, long-haul air fares for holidays or visits to friends and relations and a TEFL programme with paid internships in China and Colombia.. “We also have specialists who specialise in India, South America, and the USA, so you can talk to an expert who has all the information you need.” Shandon Travel’s second brand is SAYIT Travel which deals with the US J1 visa programme for college students. “We’ve been offering this programme for over 20 years. We send just under three thousand students across each summer.” A new Visa programme for non-students that Shandon Travel is introducing in 2017 is the J1-related Camp Counsellors, “Anyone aged 18 to 28 who has an interest in childcare, or going into teaching or loves activities, can be a Camp Counsellor for three months, and then spend a month travelling through the States as well. You don’t have to be a student. The third pillar of Shandon Travel is its Vacansoleil brand which finds the perfect mobile-home holiday in Europe for families. Italy and France are favourites, but there are locations all over Europe. Just ask the staff at Shandon [Vacansoleil] and see how wide the options are. Unique for an Irish agency Shandon are successfully selling these holiday to UK customers, about 90% of the bookings are made online. “No, there is no hesitation whatsoever about dealing with an Irish provider – they seem to love it, in fact!”
There is simply no other agency out there offering the broad range of holiday and travel options that Shandon does, says Doorley. Surely we can find something they don’t do. Trains? “We have contracts with Amtrak and with a general rail provider for Europe so we can book everywhere.” Visas? “We can do the processing for most visas right here in the office.” Escort for a young traveller? Wheelchair for an elderly relative? “That’s standard stuff, we arrange it all the time.”
The emerging market at the moment, says the man whose finger is constantly on the travel pulse, is what you might term soft adventure. “While most senior travellers still want sunshine, we’re seeing a growing trend towards activity and exploration. Not backpacking but comfortable places to stay, with daily soft adventure thrown in. You might be getting on in years, but you don’t want to simply sit by the pool, you want to get out and see things. Our staff have been there, done that, and can create exactly the right trip.”