Margaux Marshall, founder of website The Lone Travellers, is an intrepid spirit. Andrew Doherty learns about her passion for exploration and drive to set up her own travel website.
With a French mother and an English father, Margaux Marshall was introduced to the thrill of travel at an early age through frequent journeys between the two countries.
“Whether it was a school exchange or volunteering abroad, I’ve always been interested in other cultures and meeting different people,” she says.
Marshall graduated from Loughborough University in 2013 with a degree in international business and although proud of her achievements, she was unsure of the career path she wanted to follow.
“When I graduated all I wanted to do was get a one-way ticket to somewhere and see the world, so I went on a six-month backpacking trip to south-east Asia to figure out what I wanted to do.”
It was during this trip that the seed for The Lone Travellers was planted. “I met someone who encouraged me to get a book and write down any business ideas I had on my trip. It was when I got back home that I saw that there were around 30 in there. I went with the first – which was The Lone Travellers.”
With her newfound drive, Marshall enrolled in the 3W Academy in Nantes to learn coding during an intensive three-month web design course. Once she had successfully completed her studies, she had the tools she needed to start building The Lone Travellers. “Four months later, In June 2015, I had the first version of my website ready to go,” she says.
For Marshall The Lone Travellers is about using her experiences of backpacking and providing potential travellers, especially solo females, with all the necessary information they need in just two clicks.
“I read that people are spending over 10 hours searching where, when and how to get to destinations. I thought this was a bit ridiculous – why not have one website that has all the relevant information in one place while also allowing travellers to share their own experiences,” she explains.
Marshall has since immersed herself in the travel industry, attending networking events whenever she can. However, it was only after first attending the Institute of Travel & Tourism dinner that she realised that she needed to relocate to London.
Since moving, Marshall has displayed a steadfast work ethic, spending much of her free time maintaining The Lone Travellers website while holding down a full-time project manager role at Other Media (specialising in website design, mobile design and online marketing). “I’m doing everything myself to cut the costs,” she says.
Looking to the future Marshall aims to be running the website full time while bringing in more content writers, increasing site traffic through social media and securing investment.
“I hope to see sponsorships come in with increased traffic; STA Travel would be an ideal partner for me. It’s just one thing at a time.”
TTG’s Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders programme represents a chance for Marshall to expand her contacts within the travel industry.
“Being alongside people who are so driven is inspiring. The programme will really help put me in contact with the right people at the right time.”
Pauline Wilson, operations director, Virgin Holidays – sponsor of Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders – says: “There are two inspiring points about Marshall’s story. Firstly – and most importantly – she has followed a personal passion by entering this industry. Most of us end up spending more time at work than we do with our families – so you really have to love what you do. The second point is her commitment to building a business around a real customer insight rather than a pure commercial opportunity. She understands that people, particularly solo women, are crying out for easily accessible information in one convenient place. The most successful businesses are ones which solve a customer problem; it sounds like Marshall is going to be successful in doing that. I wish her all the best in her future career and know she’s one to watch – there aren’t many people I know that have the courage to launch a new business while simultaneously holding down a full-time job.”