Day to day in the Travel and Leisure Group office, I reside in the epicentre. My desk a central hub with all of the members of staff, on various levels of authority, buzzing around, engrossed with varied and engaging tasks. My days as a buyer are diverse and exciting. Dull moments are rare as I talk to clients with fervour and energy, savouring the thrill of a sale and the satisfaction of assisting both buyers and sellers alike. Conversing with people from across the globe, discussing travel requirements, matching offers with needs, conversely matching with my greatest passion: Travel, and a never ending wander-lust. When I was asked for the fourth time to the Destinations Travel Show, I jumped at the chance and began organising relevant inventory, sending tickets to treasured purchasers and counting down the days!
I arrived at the Destinations Travel Show on the Saturday with my colleague of many years and close friend Lora, a Team Leader in the Sales Department. We were greeted at one of the gates by Sarah Bond, Operations Manager and taken to the stand to join Jo Sullivan, Assistant to the Directors. Sarah and Jo had been working on the stand all day Friday and John Pearce, Legal Services Manager on the Thursday. As much as I adore my desk job, I have to admit to feeling a little, shall we say: ‘hemmed in’, perhaps only at the worst of times. Even though it is a large open plan office with work mates who have become dear friends, it is still an office. For a woman with such drama and movement in her heart, I do at times feel like a lioness pacing the confines of her cage. Not so at the show. The sense of freedom and excitement in the air is contagious and I lap it up with a renewed enthusiasm for my role in such a progressive company.
The day consists of working as team to promote our company and encouraging visitors to the show to enter a competition to win a weekend away to: ‘Mill House’ one of the oldest houses in Sudbury in our home town, where our directors run a successful Bed and Breakfast business. We all have the perfect opportunity to discuss various timeshare resales and rentals that we have available to a plethora of people who already have a keen and vested interest in travel. We find ourselves aiding timeshare owners, who approach the stand, providing them with the combined experience of hundreds of years in the industry. Tailoring marketing strategies and analysing the current market trends to value the timeshare product that they wish to sell.
Show prices are heavily discounted, people can buy or rent top quality accommodation at a fraction of the price. How about try before you buy renting at Palm Beach Club, Tenerife or Hilton Coylumbridge Highland Lodges, Scotland. Buyers can find great deals such as Puerto Anfi, Gran Canaria or The Crane Residential Resort, Barbados. There’s plenty to choose from!
The morning dashes away from us and the directors Peter Mills and Maria Mills arrive to relieve us for lunch. I find myself sat at a talk and moved to tears whilst tucking into a sumptuous tofu curry and healthy shake. The authors of: ‘Kidding around’, Hilary Bradt & James Lowen regale adventure travel with their respective children. I am propelled back in time to my youthful backpacking days and more recent but gradually fading memories of fateful trips with my own babies (now way too big). Missed buses and silent gaping mouths, watching the world through saucer like eyes, hearts as wide as planets, minds absorbing information like thirsty sea sponges.
Back to the stand and we enjoy the uniqueness of working together in such a fresh and new environment. The afternoon is a blur of faces, chatter and more competition entries as we all begin looking forward to the reward of the forthcoming evening at Bel Canto opera restaurant, and another day at the Destinations Travel Show, meeting hundreds of people who like ourselves have an avid enthusiasm for travel and fabulous accommodation.
The Destinations Travel Show is complete for another year and I am already looking forward to next year (should I be asked again! Hint hint!) I consider myself to be in such an advantageous position, working alongside people with the same passion for travel as myself and having the opportunity to experience such an incredible show and meet traveller’s face-to face from all over the globe.