The appointment of Sharon Harney as the new General Manager for the Cassidy Travel Group is an important new chapter for Ireland’s largest travel agent.
Cassidy Travel is in Experienced Hands
Sharon comes into the role with a wealth of experience under her belt. Before spending the last four years as Product and Distribution Manager for Cassidy Travel, she spent six years as Head of Sales & Marketing at Thomas Cook. She started her career in Club Travel in 1982 and in between worked at Topflight and also at Sunway, where she was General Manager.
For Cassidy Travel, her promotion signals an important development in securing a brighter future for the company, at least according to its two owners, John Cassidy and John Spollen.
“Sharon brings a wealth of experience to the role,” John Spollen told ITTN, ” and her appointment leaves the company “well-positioned to open up a new chapter in terms of growing sales and introducing new products.”
Cassidy Travel has made substantial investments in the tech side of the business over the last 24 months, including €200,000 on their VIBE online booking engine and €50,000 on their phone systems, where if a customer calls the system will automatically recognise their number and pull up their booking.
“It’s now a tech business,” says John Cassidy, “and we needed to make a substantial investment in the company, including the hiring of new staff.”
“Sharon’s appointment goes a long way toward improving the company’s management structure,” he continued.
The Accountants Told Us to Do It!
“Basically, we were advised by our accountants to improve our management structure,” admits John Spollen. “John and I founded the company in 1985 and ran it ourselves as co-directors and great buddies, but we need to align ourselves with best practice for running a company of this size.”
“Sharon has a lot of initiatives she wants to put in place,” he continued, “that will be instrumental in helping the company reach the €100m in sales we had in 2019.”
Coming Back Stronger than Ever
For Sharon, Cassidy Travel are market leaders. “We have innovative products and excellent IT services behind us, coupled with a strong and trusted High Street retail presence that has been gained over 36 years,” she told ITTN.
“We’re the largest online travel company on social media – all driven by 100% dedicated, passionate and knowledgeable staff. And it’s our front-line teams that drive our business forward.
“They’re always open to new ideas and ready to grasp whatever comes their way and do it over and over again…we intend to come back stronger than ever after 19 July and have been working hard behind to scenes to meet customer demands for their future travel requirements – we are ready!”
Not Stepping Back
As to rumours that Sharon’s appointment means that the two Johns were going to step back, they both laughed at the suggestion.
“We’re no spring chickens but we’re not retiring!” said John Spollen, although he did admit that he’d recently been appointed President of Sutton Golf Club on a two-year commitment, so he will have to dedicate some time to the club’s business!
Sharon makes no secret of the desire to keep the two Johns around. “The two Johns will always be the DNA of the business, are still actively involved and are great mentors,” she says.
Plans for the Future
“We are always on the look out for new opportunities and partners to work with,” says Sharon.
“We only work with the best: we can be demanding but we give great returns – our new Cassidy travel working abroad visa programme is already up and running for Canada/USA/AUZ/NZL so I’m very excited for that.
“Our cruise portfolio is developing with our new brochure ready to roll; our sports division is expanding as we move from soccer to rugby, Formula 1, NFL, NBL, cycling and wellness; and of course we will continue to be known for our sun and beach and USA programmes!”
Everyone at ITTN would like to congratulate Sharon on her appointment and applaud John Cassidy and John Spollen for their wisdom in making such a good choice!