Chris Mollan, Corporate Travel International, Birkenhead

Tell us about your company?

TD Travel has been operating for 30 years now. We started with just one location in Manchester and after 22 years had a £10m turnover. We then opened the location here on Wirral, as well as Leeds and Hull, bringing in a wealth of experience and expertise in travel management. In two years this increased turnover to £42m. In March 2012 I was part of a Management Buy-Out when we once again changed company focus. Despite already being successful at what we do we looked at all of our processes and standardised our service to be able to guarantee our end product to our customer was of the highest standards. Our customers loved this and we even won back two household name clients based on our higher service levels. Our new process has won us more business, allowing us to increase our product portfolio, which, in turn enables us to offer even better services to our customers. Since the MBO we have opened a location in London and a specialist Marine, Oil, Gas and Maritime Security division in Bolton. In August 2013 we completed our acquisition of Hotelscene, the UK’s largest independent Hotel Booking Agency (HBA) which now allows us to demonstrably achieve lower room rates and immediately a more diversified travel mix. On 1st October 2013 we rebranded to Corporate Travel International (Cti) and is now a £100m+ turnover company.

What is your background?

I have spent my whole career in and around the travel industry, starting off at the Blue Funnel Line in India Buildings, Liverpool. From there I became area manager for a local travel company before changing track slightly from selling to buying business travel. In 1995 I was appointed European Travel Manager for the world’s largest automobile parts manufacturer, which had a base in Wirral, responsible for a £26m budget across ten countries. This was an invaluable experience as it gave me the opportunity to view life from my customers view point today.

Where do you want the business to be in two years?

Our whole culture is customer focused and I believe our recent growth proves the success of this. I can see our company having more locations around the UK and even internationally in the bigger markets.

If you could suggest something to government which would help businesses grow what would it be?

This is an easy one and understandably is travel related. Over the last decade airline taxes have spiralled out of control. Airport taxes, fuel taxes, customs taxes, security taxes and departure taxes to name but a few. We are in the ridiculous situation where we are issuing tickets where the taxes represent five or six times time the cost of the fare. What travellers do not realise is that departure taxes go straight to the government even though customs and security is already taxed. Furthermore, some of the taxes are non-refundable, so even if you do not travel you do not get some taxes back, effectively paying for a service you never receive. I would suggest the Government changes tax rules to create a fairer environment for travellers.

"...I can see our company having more locations around the UK and even internationally in the bigger markets."

What do you do to try and relax away from the office?

I enjoy family time. My two lads are on the verge of moving out and so time with them is precious right now. We have a border collie who has been described as my shadow. I walk with him along the canal most days. I am a keen sports fan and a lifelong supporter of Liverpool. I met my wife in New York and she was also in the travel industry, naturally we enjoy travelling and do so whenever possible.

What hobbies do you have?

Sport - but not American, reading, walking, travel, and cooking.

Have you any hidden talents that we don’t know about?

I still hold the Quarry Bank 400yds (now 400Mtrs) record. I played football at school with Stevie Coppell (Manchester United. & England), Brian Barwick (ex-head of FA), Les Dennis (comedian), Clive Barker (author), and Graham Maddrell (Wirral Business Partnership). Oh.... and Kenny Dalglish killed my budgie!!!

One piece of advice you would give an 18 years old Chris Mollan starting out today?

How I wish I had access to the wonderful tools that are available now when I started out. Computers, laptops, notebooks, tablets, iPhones, internet etc. When interviewing I always say the same; grab your opportunities and run with them. Make sure you take everything you can from a situation to improve and empower your own development.

Any final comments?

If you are in business and wpould like us to look at findng you the best and most cost effective package then please feel free to drop me a line or call, I'll be happy to talk things over with you.

Some impressive statistics which TD Travel has achieved in a relatively short space of time, so perhaps if you are considering business travel you need look no further than this Birkenhead based company - find out more about the TD travel Group by visiting its website


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