Words from Managing Director Andrea Powell
When I first set up my business I was totally new to travel. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant, all of my experience came from simply being a customer who had travelled.
People asked me how I could possibly do this – after all there was ‘the internet’, the ’Big Boys’ and so on – but I think this was an asset.
Being an outsider and new to the industry, it made it legitimate for me to ask why, to challenge the perceived wisdom. Did it have to be done like that? Could it not be done differently? Were there not improvements to be made?
For my agency, it has allowed us to really move things forward – to distinguish ourselves and explain why customers come to us.
Having been ‘a customer’ all of my travelling life, as opposed to simply a travel agent who has travelled, I feel I truly understand that whether it be your holiday of a lifetime, a last minute getaway or a new adventure, finding the right holiday just for you is important.
It takes time to research all the options. You want independence and excitement, but also safety and peace of mind. Not only are we fully ABTA and ATOL protected, but we really do understand why it is so important that all of your arrangements have been dealt with by someone who really cares. Working with over 200 high quality tour operators also enables us to maximise not only customer choice but also competitive pricing.
We offer complex as well as the simpler products – tours, cruises, flights, accommodation, car hire – sometimes all in the same holiday and all with complete ATOL Protection. Something that the internet often struggles to match where people regularly search for the cheapest flights, hotel and car hire, but from different sources, and hence miss out on that all important Package Protection.
For me, it is our staff which sets us apart. The internet is great for process, but ultimately I don’t think a holiday is just a booking process. Only a person can offer true inspiration and enthusiasm when exploring your options and discuss with you alternatives and ideas, using their breadth of knowledge and real travel experiences.
And what about if/when something doesn’t turn out as planned? Ash clouds, air traffic control strikes, Ryanair cancellations, the Monarch collapse. Maybe something more personal; your suitcase gets lost in transit from a flight, your hotel does not have your reservation.
In this increasingly automated world, isn’t it still good to talk to the same friendly face – quite possibly ‘The Boss’ of the business – and know that someone can not only enthuse about your amazing plans but also help with all the extras and the ‘unexpected’.
For me, this is the essence of a great travel agency and no matter what there will always be a place for one – albeit alongside increasingly clever technology.
For more information, visit: www.idelotravel.co.uk