A Bit About Me
I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a bit more about me and my experience within the travel industry. I hope you'll find this an interesting read and may it fill you with reassurance before booking your next trip with me. So let's start at the very beginning.
My interest in geography and travel started from a very young age - I was around eleven years old and in the final years of primary school. I remember learning basic French and discussing the world and its different countries in the classroom. I was intrigued by languages and different cultures but one thing, or one person, that influenced my love of travel the most in fact, came outside of school.
My grandparents loved to travel and I remember feeling completely drawn in by their stories and totally mesmerised until the very end of each travel tale that they told. They loved cruising and would often return with tales of how they had met the captain accompanied with photos of their adventures. Travelling is in our blood and my mother was also bitten by the bug as it was passed down from her parents and she still loves to get away at every opportunity.
My career in the travel industry started in retail at an agency called, Going Places. Being lucky enough to know exactly what I wanted to do with my life from a very young age, further education seemed a little pointless to me at the time given that I could learn my trade on the job. I began my apprenticeship with Going Places which took just over a year. I enjoyed my time there but I soon realised that retail travel just wasn't for me.
In 1997, I accepted a role as a reservations consultant at Crystal Holidays. They are still to this day one of the leading ski, lakes & mountains specialists in our industry. They were a great company to work for and I learned a lot about selling ski and what to look for in a resort. Selling ski can prove to be quite complex with all the extras that come with it but I really enjoyed it and still do to this day.
In 2000, I moved to one of the best long-haul tour operators out there. Kuoni Travel have a unique product range and have been the market leader in tailor-made long-haul travel for quite some time. I spent 7 years with Kuoni and I loved every second of it. I made some amazing friends for life and learned a great deal about selling in general. They sent me to some incredible places - Malaysia, Thailand, The Maldives and Mexico to name just a few. At that time in my career, travelling came first and my salary came second in terms of importance. At one point I think I was spending more time away from home than I was at home and this time, it was my turn to tell my stories to my grandparents - to say they were proud of me is an understatement.
I spent the majority of my time at Kuoni working as a reservations consultant before moving over to the 'air product' department which looks after seat allocations and airline contracts. This was a welcome change at the time and gave me a really great insight into working more closely with airlines. In 2007, an opportunity presented itself in central London and it was too good to turn down.
I had always wanted to follow in my fathers footsteps and work in central London as he, like me, enjoys the buzz of a big city. For some unknown reason, he used to enjoy the commute from our house in Surrey but I was certain that this would be the part of my next venture that I would loathe the most.
I had always been intrigued by China both as a country and by its history. A true China travel specialist, Wendy Wu Tours came knocking at my door and I welcomed the opportunity to join a very fast-growing company who today, are the UK's leading China specialist. Wendy herself has a very infectious love for her home country which flows like wildfire through her staff and the company. I learned a lot about China and also Vietnam during my time with Wendy Wu Tours and I am very thankful indeed to them for sending me to China and for looking after me so well during my time there. I would strongly recommend them as a China specialist.
After a move to Stockport spending a year in travel recruitment (something completely different to what I was used to), I decided to try my hand at business travel. Business travel is a lot different to selling leisure travel/holidays. It predominantly involves working with corporate clients to service their travel needs on a day to day to basis. There is less selling involved and more servicing. It is a fast-paced environment with service level agreements in place with every client.
I started a position in central Manchester working for Diversity Travel who are a not for profit organisation who mainly work with humanitarian and health organisations. I quickly found my feet within the company and soon became part of the groups & conference team who looked after large group bookings and conference/events on the travel side. From this point on and still to this day, I was hooked on group travel.
I was appointed Assistant Manager of the groups & conference team but due to a lack of further progression opportunities within the company, I decided to move on to my next venture after 3 years with Diversity Travel. Next stop, CTI Travel (now named Amber Road Travel).
When I joined CTI Travel, they had little in the way of a group & conference team. In fact a team did not exist. Having already established myself in a previous role and with a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table, I set about creating a groups & conference team within Amber Road. My efforts were quickly recognised by senior management and my proposal for a new team and new team members was signed off and I was good to go. In just a year, I created, nurtured and implemented a groups & conference division within the company growing it from a team of zero to a team of 4 consultants.
I spent 3 years at Amber Road before taking up a role as a Travel Manager for an events team at TAG (The Appointment Group). This opportunity was a great opportunity and it got off to a fantastic start. However, due to the unprecedented times that we have faced this year, I was made redundant after just one year. TAG is a fantastic company and I wish them all the best for the future.
So that's it. That's me, my experience and my love for travel in a nutshell. Now it is down to me to make my own dreams come true, to be my own boss and to motivate myself as I strive to succeed in my next business venture. With the backing of Travel Counsellors, I hope to bring new experiences, share new ideas and form great new relationships along the way. So please, continue to pass on my details to friends, family and colleagues and help me make a success of my new and exciting opportunity. I love travel and I hope to prove that through the personal and passionate service I will provide to each and every one of my customers.