CHAUFFEURING some of the world’s biggest pop stars and even the President of Kazakhstan at this year’s London Olympics has left one rural coach company with plenty of stories to tell.
Haltwhistle-based Tynedale Group Travel (TGT) is not only the official team coach provider for Newcastle United, but also Yorkshire Cricket Club and some Football League clubs.
The firm is perhaps best known for transporting the rich and famous but it is also enjoying a healthy revenue stream from providing European coach holidays and home-to-school transport.
Despite being located in the wilds of Northumberland, TGT has managed to secure transport contracts UK wide and even across the Atlantic.
And, while many other providers are falling foul of the crippling recession and government cut-backs, TGT has enjoyed one of its most successful years’ trading.
The company’s managing director, Andy Sinclair, says TGT’s broad offering is what stands it out from the crowd.
“It’s a case of not putting all your eggs in one basket,” he said. “A lot of our competitors have relied on the school runs over the years but local councils have been cutting back massively in recent years and the coach companies have been left with nothing.
“We have a five-year contract with Newcastle United and we’ve recently signed a deal with Bradford City and Leeds United football clubs. Of course, you only get out what you put in.
“Our two team coaches are the best out there but they cost us £450,000 each. They have everything from kitchens, satellite TV to the internet. We’ve never advertised but the football community is a small gene pool and with just over 90 league teams out there it’s not difficult to attract clients if you have the right product.”
But it’s not only footballers who have set foot on TGT’s luxury coaches. Sinclair says more than half the company’s income stems from other revenues, including high-end holiday travel and long-standing contracts that it holds in the US.
“It’s a very good balance,” he said. “A quarter of our income comes from the sporting world but another quarter of it comes from student transport that we provide for the big universities over in Tennessee. This was all self-generated work that we earned through overseas contacts.
“We also provide coach holidays all over Europe, including to Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic which account for another 25% of sales. We retain a good relationship with Northumberland County Council and the final quarter of our income comes via school transport contracts.”