With international travel slowly opening up again, industry insiders are cautiously optimistic that things will soon return to normal. Recently we spoke with Genevieve Sheehan from Sheenco Travel about her business.
What is the company’s history and mandate?
Sheenco Travel started trading in 2012, offering luxury vacations to Ireland under the original name of Shamrock Vacations. By 2015 we were being asked for trips to Scotland and other parts of the U.K., so we expanded our product base accordingly. We were unable to trademark the original name, so in 2016 we rebranded to the more unique Sheenco Travel, which is now trademarked in Ireland, the U.S. and Canada. We have a very specific purpose; to create priceless memories that enrich lives. We take great pride in achieving this with every luxury vacation we plan for our guests.
What are your core products?
We are very much guest led and, as the majority of our trips are customized to suit each individual, no itinerary is the same. That being said, our most popular product is our Chauffeur Driven Tours where guests travel with their own private driver-guide. We also offer unique and diverse experiences including exclusive use castle hire, and even a “Downton Abbey” option, where visitors can enjoy a hosted stay with a real Lord and Lady. We do have scheduled tours in Ireland and Scotland where guests stay every night in a castle – these are very exclusive with only two departures each year and a maximum number of 18/20 participants on each tour.
How do you differ from the competition?
Our focus is on luxury with customer service to match. All Sheenco approved accommodations, attractions, experiences, and transportation services are hand selected by our team based on the level of service and high-end experience offered by each provider. We love building relationships and ensuring that guests really do experience the vacation of their dreams. From creating a bespoke itinerary based on their interests, offering a concierge service for all the little extras in the run up to the trip, to checking in with guests while they are traveling to ensure they are happy with every little thing.
How do you reach your potential clients?
Initial contact is usually made through our website, although we love going to travel shows to meet our guests face to face. Once we make contact we do like to stay in touch – while we have missed having our guests travel since the pandemic hit, we have sent regular updates via email on how we are faring in Ireland. We especially enjoy the responses we receive with news and pictures from our guests who, over the years, have become true friends.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
It has had a huge impact – our last guests traveled in March 2020. We can’t wait to get back to creating those priceless memories as soon as International travel reopens. We are very grateful to our guests as they have been wonderfully loyal and so patient as they reschedule their trips, repeatedly in some cases, and continue to hold fast to their dreams of a luxury vacation. We are also planning new trips and are seeing a huge demand for travel in 2022, so expect to be very busy for the foreseeable future as everyone gets back to visit us once again.
What are your future plans for the business?
We are excited to be launching the Sheenco Travel Franchise in the U.S. this summer. Franchisees will have a unique opportunity to join the Sheenco Travel family and spread the word of our wonderful offering. Our dedicated operations team in Ireland will continue taking care of all elements of the booking and delivery of our luxury vacations. This will allow franchisees to focus on building relationships with guests on the ground in the U.S. and helping them to plan bespoke itineraries for their dream vacations. A Sheenco Travel Franchise is an exciting opportunity for anyone with an interest in luxury travel, especially to Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales.