Shrewsbury agency Peakes Travel Elite completes share buyback

Peakes Travel Elite managing director Claire Moore has completed a share buyback from business partners Frances and Russell Peake, making her the sole trader of the business.

Moore joined the Shrewsbury-based agency in 2001 and became managing director and a 50% shareholder in 2015. 

The deal, which was completed on September 30, saw the agency buy back the remaining 50% of shares owned by Frances and Russell Peake, who founded the business in 1992.

Moore said the deal made “no difference” to the day-to-day running of the agency. 

“It's daunting but I've got every faith in the team and in this business, so it's exciting as well,” she told Aspire.

“It should've happened at the end of 2019 but didn't, and then of course all the money that had been set up to do it went into keeping the business afloat [during the pandemic].

“We’ve been steadily building it back up and we signed off on September 30 - just three years late!”

Moore said the pandemic had prompted the agency to reassess the structure and focus of the business. 

Peakes Travel Elite now comprises a team of six - compared to 15 pre-pandemic - and has no plans to expand, with the exception of potentially hiring an apprentice this year.

Moore said the agency would also continue to operate on an appointment-only basis.

She said: “I think we'd almost become a victim of our own success. We were a team of 15 just before the pandemic - there were more mouths to feed so there was more business that needed to be found. 

“With all the heartache of the pandemic, it gave me an opportunity to stop and think, actually, what do we want this business to be? It was always due to be a high-end boutique agency, but we ended up just having to do everything. 

“So we're privileged now to still only see people by appointment. This is our new way of working now.”

Moore said plans for 2024 would include running the brand’s third annual holiday show, which takes place every November.

Last year’s event was the agency’s most successful, drawing 13 tour operator partners and nearly 90 clients to St Mary’s Church in Shrewsbury, with a focus on touring and adventure.

“Shropshire is usually very much a slow burn; we don't always see a very quick response, but this time we really did,” Moore said.

“In November we actually did the same amount of sales as we did in February.”

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