Only in Newcastle can you go into a pub alone and leave with 10 friends. Friendliness is a well-known and quite wonderful trademark of the residents of north-east England.
I can only second this sentiment and would like to once again thank Helen Thielmann and Barry Higgott from Horncastle Travel for their great hospitality.
Horncastle was one of the very first Umbrella clients in the UK. I wanted to find out from Helen and Barry what they really appreciate about our tool, and what surprises Newcastle and its surroundings has in store for travellers.
Helen, Barry, you like to call Umbrella “new generation profile management”. What can it do that other tools can’t?
Umbrella is much simpler, more flexible and cheaper than other systems during operation. We have used other profile solutions before, so we can make a direct comparison.
We especially love having the opportunity to be able to configure profiles, templates and mappings ourselves at any time. In the past, modifications and changes to these settings cost us a lot of money and sometimes it even took several weeks.
With which systems do you use Umbrella?
We currently use the interfaces to GDS and cytric. We will also expand it step by step, first with the interface to Evolvi.
Who are your customers?
Besides classic corporate travel, Horncastle is especially active in the marine and offshore sectors, in other words the travel organisation of ships’ crews and workers on oil platforms. A substantial volume also comes from the leisure and event business.
Horncastle has an excellent reputation as a travel management company. What sets you apart?
Very personal service. Many cus
tomers and agents know us personally. We also provide a dedicated UK based Out of Hours Team who are highly experienced in dealing with minor or major scenarios ensuring a helping hand you can rely on and trust.
Highly competitive and bespoke rates. We monitor services booked online and offline. If a lower price is found the same day, we will match and refund the price difference.
State-of-the-art technology throughout the organisation.
Do you have other locations besides Newcastle?
Yes, in Edinburgh and Norwich.
I think it’s extraordinary and very interesting how much you identify with your city and surroundings. What tips can you give someone who wants to get to know your area?
Barry: A visit to St. James Park, home of Newcastle United, is an absolute must for football fans. The stadium holds nearly 55,000 spectators and is almost always sold out – but the city has just under 300,000 inhabitants!
There’s a lot to see in the city itself, from Grey Street – the “most beautiful street in Britain” according to Tripadvisor – to the modern, new neighbourhoods on the river that have replaced the old industrial districts.
Helen: It may surprise a lot of people, but the area around Newcastle is home to some of England's most beautiful beaches. Even if the water is not tropically warm, the wide sandy beaches are very popular among us Geordies.
Then there are a number of wonderful, well-preserved castles. Alnwick Castle is especially famous – it’s where many outdoor scenes for the Harry Potter films were shot.
Thank you very much for the great interview!