Bakers Dolphin wins family business award

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Bakers Dolphin still retains its family values. BAKERS DOLPHIN

The South West operator prides itself on its family values, and the Baker family still retains a place on the board

Business Awards UK has named South West-based coach company Bakers Dolphin as the Best Family Business in its 2024 Travel Awards. The operator’s story began in 1889 when 21-year-old Theodore Baker borrowed £25 from his elder brother to buy a pony chair. The family loan enabled him to set up his business offering rides in Weston-super-Mare, where it is still based today.

The Baker family is still represented on the board of the business, which is still offering rides, but with a modern, coach fleet , featuring WiFi, on-board catering and entertainment systems. The day-to-day running of Bakers Dolphin remains a family affair; Managing Director Max Fletcher and his wife Amanda, who is Sales & Marketing Director, are at the helm, and they ensure that strong family values remain the firm foundations behind the business.

Max ensures that the fleet is kept up to date and that vehicles and drivers are in the right place at the right time while Amanda focuses on customer service and puts together the tour programme, offering travellers fresh adventures and new destinations every year.

Amanda said: “We’re particularly pleased to be given the title of Best Family Business because we often refer to the ‘Bakers Dolphin family’ which is made up of our customers, drivers, and hostesses. We have grandparents making memories with their grandchildren by taking them on their first visit to a theme park, we provide romantic weekends for couples, luxury spa breaks and our popular turkey and tinsel tours which the older generation particularly enjoys.

“We are there for families at all stages of their lives. Our drivers and hostesses – some of them husband and wife teams – become the extended family of many customers.

“That family feel is never more apparent than on our very popular annual reunion tours. In 2023, we went to the Lake District. At these events, the Bakers Dolphin family gathers to chat about the adventures they’ve enjoyed over the year, plan the adventures yet to come and enjoy convivial time over a meal with entertainment.

“The key to our family approach has not just been to provide something for all members of the family, with comfort, safety, and well-being at the heart of everything we do, but also ensuring we demand the best from third parties, such as hotels, that we work alongside. We are proud of our family values and to have that recognised with a national award is something that gives us tremendous pride and satisfaction.”