HomeFeaturesEpisode 13: ITTN Talks To… Tom Britton, Managing Director of Marble City...

Episode 13: ITTN Talks To… Tom Britton, Managing Director of Marble City Travel

In our latest instalment of ITTN Talks, we caught up with Tom Britton, Managing Director of Marble City Travel, Kilkenny.

In this ongoing series, ITTN speaks to members of the travel trade and gives them a platform to talk about industry trends, to celebrate successes and discuss challenges their business has faced, offering unrivalled insights into the goings on of Irish travel agents.

How has 2024 been for your business so far?
January through March were ahead of the curve, April was similar to 2023, and May has been sluggish.

What has been your biggest surprise this year?
Diversity in destinations. The traditional Spanish destinations are still top of the heap. However, the world has shrunk again with the addition or ramping up of air and ferry services. Further afield destinations have grown in popularity. And so, for us, the growth in more exotic destinations, and the value proposition offered. If you look at Denver – there was a time when it was niche, now you have the direct Aer Lingus services.

What has been the biggest challenge to your business this year?
Managing a growing team. Stepping from our traditional team size to a more rounded team in terms of disciples – increased administration team, sales team, support etc. Each team has their own needs. It is not the challenge of the teams themselves, but, the time in which to do matched by the normal daily challenges… “oh look another hurricane!”, “Which volcano today?” Etc… Then again, it’s how the industry rolls.

Do you have any predictions or are you seeing patterns or emerging trends or destinations for 2024?
The consumer is becoming more wary, watching the pennies. Those who are booking last minute are doing so for many reasons; the expectation of a bargain, in May the spare cash went on communion’s etc, in June it will move to holidays… and we’ve got to support the value proposition to capture the spend. Oh! And a very busy hurricane season!

Are you seeing longer lead times or last-minute requests?
Both, some people are planning the bigger budgeted holidays further in advance. 2026 is selling… seriously? Whilst the last-minute deal hunters are there perennially, with their wellies, holiday rod, and a net.

On a more personal note, what motivates your travel? New cultures/ sun worship/ exotic cuisine/ places of historical importance/ pure relaxation?
Travel motivates travel! Natural curiosity. How does the scanner work in an airport? Who’s driving the ferry, and if so – was he/she one of the Lynch’s from Connemara? Wow, when was this canyon created? Isn’t this vineyard amazing? Let’s just sit, chill and watch the sunsetting. Do Penguins have knees? Live the journeys – cherish the memories. Living in the moment.

What is your dream holiday, and why?
Normally the holiday I am on at any one time. Last year four of us escaped to Las Vegas, Utah, and the Southwestern United States (for the 7th year running… skipping you-know-what). It was fantastic! Looking forward to seeing it again. Each trip opens the mind to new experiences. Explora Journeys (MSC’s new premium brand), brought me around the Scottish Islands last August – it was amazing… beyond expectation on many levels. Everywhere is spectacular in itself! It’s our world – go explore.

Where is 2024 taking you?
Norwegian Fjords will feature heavily to start. New Zealand at the end of year is on the map. Outside of this – the surprises will be fantastic and cherish every second of them!

Carrie Day
Carrie Day
Carrie started her career in the travel industry in 2014 and has worked in various roles such as Travel Consultant in Canada & Ireland, Business Development Manager and later Industry Sales Manager EMEA at an international tour company. She is also a trustee for the ITAA Benevolent Fund since 2021 and proud member of the AWTE Ireland. Conversations around sustainable travel are welcomed and encouraged!

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