Abbotts Travel on George Lane in South Woodford is the oldest shop on the high street. Opened by current owner Julian Abbott’s father in 1957, the store began life selling traditional coach tours before moving into the package holiday market during the Jet Age in the early 60s. An extensive refurbishment in 2013 gave the store a new lease of life, while maintaining its understated chic, and an airy open-plan layout with prominent brochure displays. Branded Abbotts carrier bags ensure that when customers do take brochures away with them, the Abbotts Travel brand is seen right down the high street. Marketing strategies have a digital focus for Abbotts in 2016. The agency’s recently relaunched website aims to recreate the in-store experience online, with blogs by staff about their personal experiences of destinations or events, mirroring the shop’s personable way of doing business. Reaching out to younger clients is a key goal too; those who blog for Abbotts’ website will receive a Travel Listography book signed by the whole team. A newsletter that goes out to a 5,000-strong client base and a regular feature in the Essex Central Magazine with a circulation of 46,000 sees the business push itself even further in the local area. Instore events boost Abbotts’ people too. The shop was turned into a spa for a Thailand-themed night, while a steel drum band played during a Caribbean night. Going above and beyond is Julian’s mantra. One client even thanks Julian for saving his father’s life. The father was due to fly to the US for a birthday celebration but was deemed too ill; he needed a blood transfusion and mightn’t have survived the flight. Julian contacted the airport, got him off the plane and arranged for another post-operation flight 48 hours later.