Sue Deerings was thrilled when she watched a balloon with her name on it take to the air and disappear. She was ecstatic when it was posted back a week later from Liverpool.
The game was part of a bonus scheme at the AirMiles Travel Company, and Deerings, a sales agent with the Warrington-based cruise team, had won a free European flight to say thank you for her hard work.
Launched in 1994 as a subsidiary of British Airways, Air Miles started out as a loyalty scheme to allow frequent flyers to build up points that they could convert into more air travel. Now it is expanding, to compete with a plethora of internet holiday booking companies. Last year it relaunched itself as a complete travel company — offering customers an air ticket and hotel booking service in exchange for Air Miles, cash, or a mixture of the two, and giving loyalty mile credits for bookings.
Staff at its headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex, and at its travel centre in Warrington, Cheshire, feel secure and ready to fly with the company, wherever it is going.
Drew Thomson, the managing director, has a hands-on approach, visiting the Warrington office each week and — like other senior managers — listening into calls to stay in touch with customer needs. He sends out regular, chatty updates to his staff. A total of 87% of them say he is full of positive energy (the 15th-highest score), while roughly four in five are excited about where the firm is going and feel they can make a difference.
Although the basic pay for a travel centre executive is a modest £11,100, everyone is eligible for profit and performance-related pay (recently 10%-30% of salary for good performers at the “heart of the company”, and 100% for those rated “top performers”). The highest recent payment was £38,500.
But employees put the company bottom among our top 100 for pay relative to colleagues; next to bottom for pay relative to similar companies; and two off the bottom for pay relative to responsibilities.
Sales staff in the travel centre have their own commission scheme, with no cap on potential rewards, and also have a company bonus. There is a contributory pension, with 12.8% of salary put in by the company from the start and holiday ranges from 25 to 27 days. At the Warrington site, where two-thirds of employees work, there is a crèche for 60 children that costs £23 a day.
Male to Female ratio:
Number of Staff:
Under 35 to Over 55 Ratio: