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Whether you’re planning a honeymoon or simply want to make the most of a holiday by getting the help of an expert, Gretchen at Holidays Please is the person you need to talk to…
I have been in the travel industry for 18 years and I have done all sorts of different work in it from retail to online travel. About five years ago I decided I wanted to work from home and having researched companies that offered that, I found Holidays Please, which allows you to create your own business under their infrastructure, so my work is fully protected and ABTA licensed.
I come from South Africa and I lived there for 21 years. When I moved to the UK I worked for an online booking agent and then spent time in corporate travel before coming to Devon. My husband is born and bred in Bantham and in moving here I wanted to be able to work more flexibly so I could enjoy the lifestyle here as well.
It’s a bespoke travel service where I create tailor made holidays for people. Sometimes they’re for special occasions, like honeymoons, and sometimes its activity based holidays to really make sure you’re getting the most out of the places you’re travelling to.
In general they tend to be more luxurious holidays and often they are multi-stop. Maybe you’re flying into America and doing Route 66 so you want car hire sorted and lots of different excursions planned along the way.
I make it easier by packaging all those elements up as one holiday. I do all the research, put together the itineraries and make the arrangements, all you need to do is turn up. We really narrow it down to the small details and we arrange holidays worldwide rather than specialising in one area. You might want to go on an African safari with a beach holiday at the end, or it could be three weeks in Thailand. It’s really about creating whatever you want, short of going to the moon.
What’s important is that it’s always personal to you - there’s no fixed formula I am working to, it’s all about creating your perfect holiday, right down to talking at the best time to suit you. I am available 24/7. So if you want to meet after work to discuss plans then we can do that, or if you have a problem when you get to your destination you can call me even if it’s the middle of the night.
I had a customer who arrived in Mexico at midnight UK time on one occasion and they couldn’t find their taxi transfer and I was able to pick up the phone and sort it out.
I do a lot of concierge work in the background. So when a customer books a holiday with me, I always try to arrange VIP treatment for them wherever they go. I let the hotels know if it’s a special occasion, I always say my clients are VIP guests and I arrange for details such as gifts to be put into the rooms. I know the little details that are going to make a holiday extra special - maybe a lounge pass at the airport for example to really start a holiday properly. It’s little things that make the difference.
Part of that is also the knowledge that I have at my fingertips about the best places to go in different locations. The restaurant recommendations, reservations and insider knowledge. Perhaps a hotel looks perfect online but it’s in the wrong area for example.
I have been doing this for six years and I now have a number of repeat clients and also get a lot of referrals. So I want to continue doing what I am doing well, and helping more people in and around the South Hams to have great travel experiences and to discover them with someone they know they can trust to create something that’s really for them.
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