Stuart McNair, the founder of Luxury Travel Advisors, was one of three travel professionals who took part in a panel discussion on the state of the industry.
McNair, who launched his business this year, said that one of the challenges was to make sure the business was internet proof.
“Anyone can book a five-star resort in two minutes on their smartphone now, it’s just so simple. But to find unique experiences based on your interests takes a lot more effort and ingenuity, so that’s our way of being internet proof,” he said.
Jessica Hargreaves (right in picture above), founding director of The Beyond Travel Company, said she had recently changed direction with her business, which was previously known as Handpicked Holidays.
“We were getting frustrated with what was on offer and with our boundaries as a travel agent,” she said.
“We wanted to go above and beyond… so we decided to create a tour operator with a difference. “We also found a gap in the market for bohemian travel.”
Tiffany Woodley (middle in picture), the director of Myriad Travel, talked about the importance of embedding yourself in the local community.
“You’ve got to network, you’ve got to be involved, you’ve got to put your money in the pot for the local community. Those are the people who are buying from you,” she said.
Woodley started her career as a hotelier and thought she could use some of her experience to launch her agency.
“Going round the country I realised there was a shortage of independent agents in Liverpool; there’s still a shortage.
“I thought, well I could do that in my home city, and I could bring what I’ve learnt from the hotel industry.”