Celebrating 40 years as an Independent Travel Agency - 1984 to 2024
Mike Coles has been in the travel business in one form or another since 1964. From then until 1984 he worked for a local shipping company in Teignmouth and boarded over 9,000 ships during those years. Included in his many jobs he booked seaman's tickets to many parts of Europe and North Africa.
During 1982, after a visit to India to visit his sister, friends started asking him for special rate airline tickets. Seeing the potential he founded 'Mike Coles World-Wide Travel'.
On 1st November 1984 he went full time working from home, employed his sister for one day a week, who was then back in the UK and 40 years later the company continues to trade!
The business expanded and in 1989 Mike and his wife Faith, purchased a retail property in Exeter. In the same year the company obtained an ABTA Licence and became a member of ABTA - The Association of British Travel Agents. Concentrating on a niche area of travel and after many years of establishing an excellent clientele the need for ABTA membership (and the cost involved) was no longer required. We decided to cease membership 30 June 2022. However we continue to trade acting as 'Agent for ATOL Holders'.
Between 1991 and March 2011 the company was a member of the CAA but then the necessity and expense of having an ATOL licence was no longer necessary. But as per CAA regulations ATOL certificates are issued for most bookings.
Although callers in person in recent years have decreased, booking by phone/e mail continue to be consistent. Regular and new enquiries being received from all over the UK and abroad. We are agents for many of the well known tour operators but our speciality is 'tailor made' holidays, flights and group bookings. Indeed, we are in one of the side streets of Exeter, but with our unique operation, and of course excellent communication, geographical situation is rather irrelevant.
Since the start of the business the company has been very fortunate in having excellent staff. The benefits of having a very low staff turnover have been proved over and over again. Many of our staff have stayed with us for 6/9/15-25+ years.
The company has always endeavoured to keep up to date with the latest technology and has been using computers since 1986 when we purchased some of the first Amstrad PCW's and PC’s on the market.
With many years in the travel business, personal service and advice is a top selling point. With managerial and staff experiences that include staying in rat infested rooms in the African bush, to sailing on the world's biggest cruise ships and 5 star hotels, personal experiences certainly contributes to closing a deal!
A FEW NAMES AMONGST MANY WE ARE PROUD OF...
SARAH L - Started in 1986, a key person in establishing the business, with us for 5 years. Then moved on to work for a Children's Charity Mission in Canada.
LINDSEY - Started in 1987 with us for 8 years, went on to become a top sales person for AMEX TRAVEL.
DONNA - Started in 1989 a great worker, moved on in the late nineties.
JANICE - Started in 1991 in one word - a jewel! and brought a sparkle to the office!... then in August 2020 it was Covid and ...we had to make her redundant.
KATHY C - Started in 1999 ..excellent...with us for 9 years.
JON - Never employed but since 1986 a great friend of the company and very supportive in many ways, now a Dr in computer science. In 2018 still a great friend.
RUSSELL - Never employed as such but since mid nineties - a great friend who continues to help and advise in an ‘IT emergency’.
FAITH - Mike's wife - Just about impossible to operate the business without her. A wonderful support.
MIKE - Himself...well I am the privileged one...because without the support of many including those above - the thing wouldn't have happened!
Not forgetting a number of others who have been here as part time/work experience.
by the way you may have noticed we don't do an 'all singing all
dancing' website, we keep to basic information, just what is
necessary and relevant. This is part of our ongoing ethos to keep our
running costs low and at the same time offer what we hope is an
excellent service. And...you will speak to a human being not a
computer….Mike Coles World-Wide Travel for Reservations,
Information ,Assistance & Advice.
Just a very small part of the story!