Call centre agency Jetline Travel has opened its first retail outlet, setting up in the former offices of tour operator Libra Holidays.
The store in Barnet, north London, is focused purely on Jetline’s cruise business, and bosses have not ruled out opening other high street shops if the trial is a success.
Managing director Steven Roberts said the idea for a cruise store came after the business moved to new offices that had the potential to include a retail outlet at the front.
He said: “We certainly don’t have a master plan to create a shop estate – in fact, our business model has probably contributed to the decline on the high street.
“But we had the seeds of an idea while we were looking for new office space, and we felt the nature of the Jetline Cruise product meant there was potential to create a shop that people would travel to.”
The Jetline Cruise store is staffed by call centre agents who answer calls when not dealing with face-to-face enquiries, and features a themed “cruise experience” room where potential clients can watch videos on a big screen.
“We’ve soft-launched and had a very positive response,” said Roberts.
“It will be a slow burn, but we hope to attract people from a 20-mile radius so we’re not just another agency relying on passing trade. If it goes well we will look at the case for opening another shop.”
Roberts said Jetline’s cruise business had been affected by a “tough year” for the sector and was rebuilding after management changes.