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78: CLASSIC COLLECTION HOLIDAYS

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Having sold his £225m-turnover travel business to MyTravel in 2001, Nick Munday could have jetted off for his own bit of R&R. Instead, he bought another one. Classic Collection is aimed at the higher end market, and has some serious clout behind it, including the president of ABTA and International Federation of Tour Operators – both shareholder directors. The company was established in 1988 and was a respected brand, but the former owner had little inclination to take it further. “We had to speculate to accumulate. We launched several new destinations and put in the cornerstones for growth. Profits halved but we had the courage of our convictions and blasted on relentlessly,” says Munday. The tour operator is now the leader in its field, and boasts profits of £2.3m with sales of £39.9m last year. Munday says if the company is not turning over £50m by 2011, he’ll “be amazed”. The secret of success? Good, old-fashioned service and respect, both to staff and customers. In his first year at Classic, he personally visited 350 travel agents around the country. “I was trained by a family whose approach was to treat people as you would like to be treated yourself. It was a humble lesson.”

www.classic-collection.co.uk

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