UK post offices to trial travel agency kiosks
Travel firm Minoan Group plc has said it has agreed with the National Fededation of Sub Postmasters to trial 50 travel agency kiosks in UK sub post offices. The Glasgow-based company said it will use the technology of its Stewart Travel subsidiary to sell holidays to Post Office customers.
An initial three-month pilot phase will test the unmanned kiosks within sub post offices located in market towns, with plans to phase in an additional 50 kiosks every three months.
The company said it was aiming to set up a minimum of 1,000 kiosks over the next five years if the pilot proves successful.
Minoan will operate the kiosks under the name Postcard Travel. The units comprise two screens displaying a range of holiday offers, a keyboard and touch screen technology for customers to browse and choose vacations.
Customers will be able to book holidays from the kiosks, or request call backs from Stewart Travel.
It said the project had “excellent opportunities” for sub post office owners, and would benefit from the “trusted” Post Office brand and the footfall of 10m customers flowing through the UK sub post office network each week.
Minoan chief executive Duncan Wilson said there were “strong margins and development opportunities” in the travel business.
“We believe this venture has great potential for value creation through the increased scale, synergies and growth of combining our Stewart Travel brand and online expertise with the scale of the sub post office network and the enthusiasm, hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of local sub post office owner managers,” said Wilson.
The Minoan chief executive said the post office network would mean more access for people where the travel industry’s retail presence has been shrinking, such as in rural areas.
“The significant customer base of the sub post offices gives the Group a fantastic platform from which to build and we are confident that reciprocal growth of both our travel kiosks and the affiliated sub post offices will be achieved,” he said.
The NFSP said it was “delighted” with the agreement and its trading company.
“While the full product suite available in the kiosks is still under discussion, the NFSP has agreed with Minoan to carry out a pilot in 50 NFSP members’ post offices to ascertain how successful the project may become,” the National Federation said.