Peterborough-based online travel agent Sunny Heart Travel moves back to the high street with launch of retail stores

An online tour operator set up in Peterborough is poised to launch a new chain of stores as it moves out on to the high street.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 6:00 pm

Sunny Heart Travel, which was created as an e-commerce business by former staff from the holiday giant Thomas Cook, will open its first outlet in the new Beales department store in Westgate, over the next few weeks.

A recruitment campaign has been launched to find four staff initially with more jobs to be created in the near future.

The move comes some 22 months after Sunny Heart Travel was set up jointly by chief executive Steve Bentzen, former Thomas Cook IT programme manager, with former Thomas Cook IT project manager Jemma Sharman, who is chief information officer.

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The logo of the expanding tour operator Sunny Heart Travel

Mr Bentzen said: “We have just signed a deal with Beales Department stores to open a chain of new Sunny Heart Travel Shops.

“We have a lot of combined experience in store refurbishment and the fit out has started in earnest.

“Of course the most important factor is the staff and we would urge anyone with a travel retail background to contact us immediately as we are interviewing right now.

"The first location is Peterborough, where our travel journey began. This will be closely followed by Poole and Southport.

Former Thomas Cook IT programme manager Steve Bentzen is chief executive and former Thomas Cook IT project manager Jemma Sharman is chief information officer.

Mr Bentzen added: “Online trading has seen us through the pandemic, but for me online only is a bit like a band that doesn’t play live.

“It’s important to meet your clients and provide a friendly face to give them the confidence that they always have someone helpful on hand to deal with any issues.

"I think now more than ever we are being judged on customer service rather than just price.

“We are super excited about the next phase in our development, our plans were slowed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but we always held onto the vision and we are so happy it’s now become a reality.”

Anyone interested in applying for a job with Sunny Heart Travel should email [email protected]

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