When you’re in the travel business you have to get used to people moving about, but Cork city-based travel experts Shandon Travel are still getting a little excited about their switch to a new city centre location.
More than 40 years in the trade, Michael Doorley opened his first Shandon Travel outlet on Oliver Plunkett Street in 1974, beginning a journey which took in premises in Wilton and taking on a string of other interests, including student favourite Sayit Travel, West Cork Travel, the Cruise Centre and Beacon South America.
Now it is all under one roof at its new Grand Parade location by Fitzgerald House, home to 32 staff — and decades of gathered expertise.
According to Michael Doorley “we have occupied a ground floor office on Grand Parade for the past 17 years for our student travel service. At the same time we have occupied first floor offices in Marlboro Street for Shandon Travel, Family Holiday Centre, administration and accounts for all our offices, including Sayit.
“In order to have more cohesion between offices and more staff interaction and sharing of duties it seemed to make sense to try to put everyone together.
“The larger first floor suite of offices over the Sayit shop became available so we decided to make the move. Customers now have access to our staff on this first floor or at a dedicated counter on the ground floor in Sayit. Having Shandon Travel accessible on the ground floor opens up the possibility of acquiring passing trade — which we didn’t have in Marlboro St.”
The location has changed, and the travel business has also continued to evolve. According to Mr Doorley when it comes to student travel organised via Sayit, “gone are the days of boozy travel just for the sake of parties. Student travel habits are changing. A recent survey showed the chief goals of male students were historical/cultural site visits, making local friends, parties and night life.
“Female students could add exploring local cuisine and learning languages to that. There is a growing interest in volunteering and exchange programmes.”
Speaking of cultural visits, Shandon Travels’ new home was in the spotlight, in an oblique way, during the visit of Queen Elizabeth in 2011. The city centre premises was in view as the Queen got out of her car to visit parts of the city centre. Or, has Michael has it: “The Queen passed our shop - but didn’t drop in to book her flight home.”
Details: Shandon Travel, 021-4277094
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