Bill Munro has made a huge impact on the travel trade, not just in Scotland but in the UK as a whole, having built Barrhead Travel to be the premier Scottish distribution partner for major UK tour operators. Now employing more than 800 staff in 55 locations, it is one of the largest travel independent travel agencies in the UK and a major contributor to the Scottish economy.
Barrhead Travel started life as a small shop in a Glasgow suburb with just 3 staff, after Bill grew bored of life working in banking and decided that travel was where the opportunities lay.
It is Bill’s vision and “out of the box” thinking that has made the company the respected brand that it is today. In the early days, when other agencies closed at weekends and worked short hours, Barrhead Travel opened early till late 7 days a week, when the customer wanted and they could book face to face, on the phone or online. The company was one of the first to embrace the dynamic packaging concept, and has been in the forefront of travel technology, building its Customer Relationship Management system in-house and recognising the importance of the web long before many of its competitors. Bill also helped finance 12 members of staff to open their own successful travel agencies.
Today thanks to his vision, the company has been repositioned as the next generation of travel agents. Having launched a summer air charter programme from Scotland, he has de-risked the company from the inevitable changes in distribution driven by the internet and offers customers more choice than ever before.
A planned succession culminated in Sharon Munro’s management buyout of the company in 2007, resulting in a more strategic role within the company for Bill.
Bill was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2015.