The Kings Ferry Group is celebrating the first anniversary of the acquisition of Stewarts Coach Group Limited, an award-winning independent coach business with bases in Reading and Leicester.
Stewarts provides corporate travel and private hire services as well as operating an established day tour and holiday programme, incorporating the brands Wood Coaches, Woods Tours and Stewarts Tours. In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new ownership, the existing Managing Director or Stewarts Coach Group, Andy Cotton stayed with the business to drive business growth opportunities. One year on and Stewarts and Woods are celebrating substantial growth and success.
Managing Director of The Kings Ferry Group, Ian Fraser has been delighted with the progress that has been made this year. In response to the first year anniversary, he said, “I would like to begin by thanking all the people in both Stewarts and Woods for their fantastic attitude to the new ownership. I can say that the overwhelming impression has been one of the open-mindednesses, cooperation and a brilliant ‘can do’ approach. I have been impressed by everyone I have met.
“Andy kept telling me how good his people were but now we have experienced it first hand, I can say that we didn’t realise just how good they all are. Since day one, I wanted us to work with our new colleagues in a collaborative and consultative way. Whilst acquiring a new business isn’t always plain sailing, I truly believe that the business as a whole is reaping the rewards of working collaboratively. Together we have made a number of developments in the businesses which has helped drive improvements in a number of key areas including customer satisfaction, revenue, fleet investment, pay and profit.
“I am very proud of the achievements everyone within the business has made and they should be incredibly proud of themselves. They have played a huge part in the success of the acquisition over the last 12 months.”
Last year, the acquisition sparked an ambitious strategy focusing on a significant increase in revenue and profits across the Stewarts and Woods brands. A new marketing strategy and new product offering was launched, and developments in key areas of the business has seen a substantial increase in revenue in 2019, particularly for the Woods Holidays Programme, which is on target to hit a 23% year-on-year increase in revenue.
The fleet investment has benefited Stewarts and Woods. At Woods, this first year saw the introduction of the very first Double Deck Coach as well as the start of a new airport service from Stansted Airport to Manchester and Liverpool. The coach fleet has increased from 16 to 25 vehicles and an additional 18 full-time drivers of vehicles have joined the tours programme to bring in new business opportunities.
In terms of employment, there has been an increase in opportunities for both employees and workflows. New positions have been created in training and compliances, sales, mechanics and drivers.
Linny Smalley-Ward, General Manager at Stewarts says, “There is no doubt that every single person in our team at Stewarts has pushed a little bit harder to ensure we have delivered each task that has been set. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone and everything that we have achieved.”
The Kings Ferry Group will work to ensure a higher volume of customers can experience the reputation and customer care that both Stewarts and Woods will deliver, focusing on providing the best drivers, highest safety standards and cutting edge fleet of vehicles, and leveraging the increased geographical presence.
For more information, please visit The Kings Ferry Group website