Bright future for A C Williams

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Owner Glen Pratt, centre standing, with the A C Williams team
Owner Glen Pratt, centre standing, with the A C Williams team

Lincolnshire operator expands holiday programme, invests in vehicles and maintenance and wins new school contracts

A C Williams Coaches is benefiting from a successful 12 months following its take-over earlier this year.

The operator is reaping the benefits of major investment and increased staffing during 2012, helped by the announcement of more than £100,000 worth of new schools contracts won over the summer. Along with earlier wins, these have helped boost the total increase in contract work this year to over 35%.

Now, the Ancaster-based company is launching an expanded 2013 holiday and excursions programme, with the company planning to triple its holiday division turnover in the next 12 months. Next year there will be 30 holidays available, including trips to the Italian Lakes, the Rhine Valley and Austria.

Owner and Executive Chairman Glen Pratt told CBW: “We have also got more innovative with day trips.

“We have really ramped up marketing and sales and we’re expanding out of Grantham and Sleaford to towns like Newark, Stamford and Melton.

“People are starting to notice us so the strategy is working.”

The company committed £10,000 of investment to its maintenance workshop earlier this year to ensure the fleet runs at peak potential and has now invested a further £70,000 in four new vehicles to cope with the increased demand. These are two 53-seat Plaxton Premier Volvo B10Ms and two Dennis Dominators, all retrofitted with Euro 4 technology. “We purchased the new vehicles from Ensign,” Glen explained. “We like Ensign and have got a good relationship with them.

“I am also a big fan of our four Scania Irizars. They are fantastic and they look brilliant.

“We keep all the vehicles in tip top condition. We’re actually looking for another Irizar – I think we can grow the coaching side of the business.”

Staff numbers have increased from 25 at the time of take-over to more than 30, with recruitment now underway for another full time marketing position at its HQ.

Glen added: “We are exceeding targets across the board and now our sights are set on taking a much bigger share of the local market for holidays. We’re offering many new destinations and many more departure dates and pick-up points.

“Now we’re on an extremely strong financial footing, we’re attracting many contract customers and can offer additional benefits to our holiday and day trip customers. That includes a 100% commitment to the brochure price, as I’m personally guaranteeing there will be no fuel or currency surcharges and no credit card charges. It’s a tough time at the moment for everyone and we want to show how much we value our customers.”