Minoan Group has announced the signing of an exclusive deal with the National Federation of Sub Postmasters (NFSP) for the installation of travel agency kiosks across the UK’s over 9,000 sub post offices. This agreement is aimed at creating a national leader to provide readily available online holiday agency services. The deal will combine Minoan’s technology and trusted brand Stewart Travel with the nation’s most extensive network of managed retail premises operated under the Post Office brand.
The kiosks will be operated by Stewart Travel under the Postcard Travel brand with the aim to set up at least 1,000 machines in the next five years. For a three-month trial period, 50 kiosks will be installed across local sub post offices in market towns, and another 50 will be added every three months after that. Every kiosk will feature two screens – one touch enabled with a simple keyboard – that allow customers to browse a variety of the latest holiday offers on the market. With just four touches on the screen, travellers will be able to choose a holiday.
The combination of access to the best holiday choices via the internet provides great opportunities for Minoan Group, owners of sub post offices and the general public. The sub post office network currently gets over ten million customers in one week. Most of then run their businesses under the same roof as other retail companies. In urban areas, these other retailers are usually stationery or newsagent businesses, while the other retailers are often a village shop in rural areas.
Minoan Group chief executive Duncan Wilson says that they are thrilled to announce this deal. Travel is an essential part of their business and a key driver of growth due to development opportunities and strong margins. This partnership with the NFSP will significantly improve their national position in the travel agency sector.
Wilson continued that they believe there is great potential in this venture for value creation through the increased growth, scale and synergies of combining their Stewart Travel division and online expertise with the sub post office network, as well as the hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm of local managers at sub post offices. Additionally, this venture will give the public more access to a broader range of holidays – particularly those living in more rural areas and with limited access to the high street and online services. This should help local sub post office managers grow their business and continue delivering Post Office services.
Wilson added that they believe it will also give the economy a welcome stimulus at a time when pressure is increasing on the high street due to a range of retailers closing down, especially in rural areas. The sub post offices’ large customer base gives Minoan a great platform to build from, and they are confident that both their travel kiosks and sub post offices will achieve growth.
NFSP commercial and network director Mervyn Jones says that post offices take on important community roles. They have been under much financial pressure, with some 5,000 locations closing over the last ten years throughout the country. They hope their network is rounding a corner, and this agreement will help them appeal to a new base of customers by providing enhanced services that are relevant to the society of today.