The business travel industry has expressed its shock and sadness after Baxter Hoare Travel, the UK’s oldest travel management company, ceased trading last week after 138 years.
The TMC, which was bought from Bath Travel by Adam White 11 years ago, was based in London Bridge and specialised in managing travel for SMEs.
At one time it had more than 30 staff but had a team of nine when it ceased trading. One had been with the TMC for 33 years.
White, an industry stalwart with a 41-year career in travel, starting with Thomas Cook, is going to semi-retire but is expected to remain involved in the business travel sector in non-executive director roles.
He said Baxter Hoare had been hoping the Government was going to act to help the travel industry but amid all the uncertainty and travel restrictions, its clients had not been able to travel.
“There are a lot of other travel companies like us who are running out of air,” said White, who is the longest-serving Board member of the BTA after 21 years.
“We’ve been fighting, as a team, and trying to make a best fist of it, but we simply couldn’t continue to go on.
“I fear that there will be more failures if the Government doesn’t open up air corridors again soon.”
Clive Wratten, BTA CEO, 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 its expertise and service.”
Other messages of support flooded in on LinkedIn when The Business Travel Magazine was the first to break the news.
Bex Deadman, Managing Director of Blue Cube Travel, said: “I am so utterly devastated to hear this news Adam. I am sending a lot of love to your team current and past. I am quite sure it’s been an incredibly difficult time for all.”
Kenny Picken, CEO of Cii Ltd and the Founder of Traveltek, said: “Baxter Hoare was one of my early clients, way back in the day when owned by Colin Saunders, and led to many more within and around London, such was their influence and respect from other travel businesses. I’m shocked and saddened to hear of the terrible news and my thoughts are with Adam White and all the staff at Baxter Hoare.”
Brian Potter, former Director at Clyde Travel Management, said: “I was sorry to read this – awful for Adam and the staff. I’m sure there will be many more too, but it’s just terrible that companies like this have to go – not enough help quick enough from government.”
Baxter Hoare was also a founding member of Advantage Travel Centres and Focus Travel Partnership. White was also on the Focus Board and has now resigned from that role.
Baxter Hoare was founded by Frederick Baxter and Francis Hoare, who set up a freight forwarding company Baxter Hoare & Co Shipping & Forwarding Ltd in 1883.
In the following years, it increased its portfolio of products to include arranging travel for landed gentry looking to travel on ships and planes.