ExCeL London - 30 Sep - 01 Oct 2021
18 October 2021 - Virtual
28 October - London, UK
Baxter Hoare's Adam White
Baxter Hoare, one of the oldest travel management companies in the UK, has ceased trading.
The company, based in London Bridge, was founded as a freight forwarding company in 1883 but expanded its services to include arranging travel for landed gentry looking to travel abroad.
It was bought by Bath Business Travel in 2008 and then underwent a management buyout led by Bath’s Adam White in 2010. The following year it bought trade fair specialist Pressplan and, in 2013, it acquired the UK trade fairs division of German tour operator Dertour.
The company – which has nine staff - was a member of both the Advantage Travel Partnership and Focus Travel Partnership; White joined the latter’s board of directors in 2020. At its peak, the company was turning over £20 to £30 million.
White said he was "completely gutted at what has happened" and lays the blame firmly at the foot of the Government.
"There is absolutely no question that if firm action had been
taken in order to support the travel industry on a number of occasions we would
not have come to this. The Government should have listened
more to the industry through organisations like The BTA where we have been trying to
tell them exactly this," White told BTN Europe.
Baxter Hoare's focus on trade fairs was also a significant contributor to its demise. "Trade fairs have been cancelled again and again because of Covid," said White. "One of the events we
would support for our customers has moved six times."
"But for us, the final straw when there mandatory isolation in airport hotels came in. It is a heinous process," he added.
Typically for White, who has been in the travel business for 41 years since starting with Thomas Cook, he is more concerned about his "Baxter Hoare family" than himself.
"I am making sure my team get what they are due from the Government because they
have been with me a long time. We have always been run as a Baxter Hoare family; even when people move and do something else, we were known for welcoming them back," he said.
The longest-serving memember of staff at the company has been there for 33 years; most had more than 20 years' experience.
White announced the news yesterday at a virtual meeting of The BTA board, on which he has served for more than 20 years. He announced his resignation from the Focus board in the afternoon. "There was complete shock," he said.
Focus Travel Partnership’s CEO Abby Penston, said: “The news of Baxter Hoare ceasing trading is terribly upsetting not just for Adam and his amazing team but for business travel on a whole. Adam has been an active member of the Focus Travel Partnership from its conception but most recently joining the board of directors last year. “I would like to think this would be a wake-up call to government that their failure to support the business travel sector directly impacts established businesses like Baxter Hoare. I would like to personally thank Adam for his service to the Focus partnership and wish all at Baxter Hoare the very best for the future.”Clive Wratten, CEO of The Business Travel Association, said: “The BTA is very sad to see Baxter Hoare go into administration. This is a brutal example of the ravages Covid-19 is wreaking on our industry. “The company has spent more than a century meeting the needs of the business traveller. The industry and their clients will sorely miss their expertise and service.”
Advantage's Julia Lo Bue-Said said, "We are really saddened by the news that Baxter Hoare has ceased trading. Adam and his team were loyal supporters of Advantage and we wish them all the best for the future."
Baxter Hoare is one of a number of TMCs that have ceased trading during the Covid pandemic, including Horncastle Executive Travel, Thornton's Travel and Business Travel by STA.
"I have absolutely no doubt that others will follow," said White. "What I
am hearing is that there are a number of travel companies
right on the brink at the moment."
"The nub of it is that Britain is a trading nation. We manufacture more than we need for our home market therefore exports have to
happen. With something like 60 per cent of our exports going by air, you can’t have planes sitting on the ground."