Travel firm is in cruise control

17 Jan 2024 11:46
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Growth journey: Staff at Panache Cruises

A LUXURY cruise retailer headquartered in Chorley has more than doubled its turnover to £20million in 2023 after a record-breaking 12 months.
Panache Cruises, which was founded by James Cole in 2020 during the pandemic, has smashed the previous year’s revenue of £8.2m.
In 2023 the company also topped the UBS Fast Growth 50 Index in the North of England after reporting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR), of 404 per cent.
Since the start of 2023, Panache Cruises has also grown its workforce from 31 to 55 and is looking to reach 100 by 2026.
James Cole said: “2023 has been a landmark year but our success can’t be measured by numbers alone.
“We’ve invested £200,000 in our new headquarters at Strawberry Fields Digital Hub in Chorley and expanded our operations into the US with the opening of a new office in Texas.
“When I launched Panache Cruises three years ago our mission statement was simple: ‘Colleagues, customers, cruise lines – nothing is too much trouble’.
“I think that our customer and colleague-centric approach has underpinned our success as we strive to become the world’s biggest seller of luxury cruises.”
In the last year the company has more than doubled the number of bookings to more than 2,000, with the average booking value surpassing £10,000.
The company’s top 40 customers have spent over £4m on nearly 300 cruises in three years but Cole says every client gets their own cruise connoisseur to help them with all aspects of their holiday.
Panache Cruises has also introduced a number of employee benefits, including free lunches made by celebrity chef Lashuan Pryce, and an extra employer contribution to staff pensions.
Cole says one of his proudest achievements has been to have at least 10 apprentices in the business by the end of 2023, with plans to invest in more than 100 apprenticeships by 2030.
He said: “Since establishing Panache Cruises, it’s always been a personal passion of mine to invest in and develop young talent. Being able to take on young colleagues who have the aptitude to not only do a great job but also want to learn too, is a ‘win-win’ for all.”
Cole has more than 25 years of experience in cruising and was the driver behind some of the UK’s largest cruise brands, including Cruise118, Six Star Cruises and River Voyages. During his career he has retailed more than £1bn of cruise holidays.

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