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30 Under 30

BY TTG Staff

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Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders 2018: Ready to make their mark

A new class has joined the TTG 30 Under 30 scheme – read how they are planning to forge their futures and make their mark as Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders.

TTG 30 under 30 2018 group shot
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“The TTG Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders programme has taken an increasingly prominent role in the travel industry, thanks in part to our supporters over the years including Tui, Virgin Holidays, Attraction World and World Travel Market London."

It’s the list everyone embarking on a travel career wants to be on – the TTG 30 Under 30.


After much deliberation the judging panel – which comprised the Institute of Travel & Tourism (ITT), former alumni of the TTG 30 Under 30 and the TTG Media team – has produced the list for the scheme’s sixth intake.


Applications and nominations were welcomed from across the travel industry; from travel agencies, tour operators, cruise lines, airlines, tourist boards, PR companies and other suppliers to the trade.


As usual, entries were split between those who put themselves forward for inclusion and those who had won the admiration of their colleagues and were nominated.


Daniel Pearce, managing director of TTG Media, said: “The TTG Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders programme has taken an increasingly prominent role in the travel industry, thanks in part to our supporters over the years including Tui, Virgin Holidays, Attraction World and World Travel Market London.


“This year we are delighted to have received the support of Gold Medal and Travel 2, part of dnata Travel UK, who will be joining us at each of the events.


“We are also thrilled to once again have the full support of the ITT, with each of the 30 Under 30 gaining free membership to the institute.”


Everyone selected will be invited to hear from speakers drawn from today’s travel industry leaders at a series of networking events and dinners, as well as at a leadership training session in 2018.

 

Sponsors

Sponsors

Lisa McAuley, managing director, Gold Medal and Travel 2, said: “Gold Medal and Travel 2, part of dnata Travel UK, are delighted to be sponsoring TTG’s Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders. I see this as an incredible opportunity to recognise and celebrate up and coming talent within our industry, and to support ongoing progression to develop future industry leaders.


“The travel industry is constantly evolving and as award-winning operators we aim to be at the forefront by leading innovation and driving improvements. A crucial part of this is building a team of rising talent with a fresh vision and new ideas. We have seen the benefits of nurturing young talent within our own business.


“I’d like to welcome and congratulate this year’s 30 Under 30, and I look forward to being a part of their journey over the next 12 months.”

Anna Rodway

Anna Rodway

Store manager, Kuoni Edinburgh
About: Having started her career in travel just two years ago, Anna has shot up the ranks at Kuoni.


What she said: Having studied a degree in languages, I started my career in travel in 2016, beginning in sales as a personal travel expert. After 14 months, I was asked to take on the role of regional sales trainer to support staff across the 10 Kuoni stores in the north region. Following this period working in training, I went back into sales and took on the role of assistant manager of the Glasgow store. My latest career progression has seen me promoted to the position of store manager in our Edinburgh store – a total of 22 months since beginning my career in the travel industry.

Ashley Secker

Ashley Secker

Senior trade relations manager, Red Sea Holidays
About: Ashley recently joined Red Sea Holidays to maintain and grow relationships with the trade. Prior to this he spent seven years at Newmarket Holidays, where he started in reservations and progressed into an account management role.

 

What he said: Over the years I have been fortunate enough to work alongside people who have helped me grow into a well-rounded travel professional. I am able to use my experience and knowledge in my new role at Red Sea Holidays, helping me drive the business forward and get holidays to Egypt back at the forefront of agents’ minds.

Augustus Lonsdale

Augustus Lonsdale

Commercial and product manager UK and Europe, AmaWaterways
About: Since graduating from the Oxford School of Hospitality Management, Augustus has worked in the cruise industry, onboard the Queen Elizabeth for Cunard before spending two and a half years at Clia. He joined AmaWaterways in July 2016 to set up the new UK office as its first employee alongside the managing director.

 

What his nominator said: Gus goes about his work with focus and drive, adding value with everything he does. We call him “Gusapedia” because of his level of product and industry knowledge. Having been involved in the industry from a young age, both ashore and on water, his knowledge of all things cruise is second to none.

Barry Moore

Barry Moore

Co-founder and head of operations, Party Hard Travel
About: Barry describes Party Hard Travel as the “fastest growing party holiday company in the UK”. He is responsible for operations and ensuring the firm’s 10,000 customers “have the best week of their lives”.

 

What he said: I have been working on our Party Hard project during and since leaving university six years ago, and I have also been helping Paul Stanyer, founder of Holiday Taxis, on his new company, Hang Out On Holiday. I entered myself into this process after seeing the benefits it brought my business partner, Nathan Cable, last year. Our main successes so far have been 1,200% growth in two years, featuring on TV shows and us winning Travel Trust Association (TTA) member of the year.

Belinda Hallworth

Belinda Hallworth

Account director, Flagship Consulting
About: Belinda joined as a graduate trainee. She initially worked across different market sectors but quickly showed an aptitude for the travel sector. Now, six years on, Belinda heads up the majority of Flagship’s travel and leisure accounts, covering cruise, destinations and attractions.


What her nominator said: Belinda has always accepted different challenges – not only did she get to grips with the world of public and media relations but she also helped us establish our internal design capability and turned her hand to project management. But her real interest is in understanding consumer behaviours and the path to purchase issues facing the travel industry. Belinda is now a key player at Flagship, and a great role model.

Bradley Escorcio

Bradley Escorcio

Commercial graduate, Thomas Cook
About: A part the Thomas Cook Future Leaders Programme Bradley rotates around four key commercial areas of the business – marketing, product, commercial sales and yield. So far this has enabled him to get a deep understanding of day-to-day business activity, create and lead his own marketing campaigns, manage new projects and grow Cook’s hotel portfolio to drive performance.

 

What he said: I joined Cook after a year at NHS Digital in external relations and digital communications. Last year I led our first LGBTQ-friendly holidays campaign, developing staff training, a new brochure and our rainbow Sunny Heart logo. Following the campaign we were nominated for LGBT-Friendly Travel Company of the Year at the TTG Travel Awards.

Danielle Ives

Danielle Ives

Conference and events executive, The Advantage Travel Partnership
About: Danielle got into travel in 2009 as a junior in marine travel, and worked her way up to specialist within a year. She soon moved to supplier relations at ATPI which meant working with business partners and thinking of creative and new ways to engage consultants.


What she said: When I started at Advantage I was tasked with organising an afternoon tea with a few awards thrown in. This little idea evolved and changed and is now The Big Celebration Lunch, a standalone awards ceremony which we purely do to celebrate our members and business partners and their successes. In 2017, Advantage brought in an Employee of the Year award, open just to head office staff, which I was in the top three for.

David Reading

David Reading

Product manager, Africa and South America, Best at Travel
About: David started in the travel industry representing luxury lodges, hotels and DMCs in Africa, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the UK and Europe, before joining Best at Travel. He is also president of the London chapter of Young Travel Professionals.

 

What his nominator said: With his ability to communicate effectively with his team, colleagues, suppliers and the greater tourism industry, I believe David will continue to head up the ladder wherever he works.

Dominic Ashmore

Dominic Ashmore

Commercial graduate, Thomas Cook
About: Dominic joined Thomas Cook’s commercial graduate scheme in 2016 and has worked on the optimisation of retail social pages and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots for the travel industry.


What he said: Social engagement with our customers is increasingly important, especially the personalisation of services. The opportunities held within AI and social are exciting and are a crucial asset whose significant impact is still yet to be fully realised within the travel industry. It’s one I look forward to exploring further across the Thomas Cook Group.

Evie Brockwell

Evie Brockwell

Product owner, BookingGo
About: Evie has been with BookingGo for six months, and in January moved into a new team, which is looking to renovate the mobile and desktop booking journeys by understanding and solving key customer problems. Prior to this Evie was on the graduate scheme at Tui.

 

What she said: At BookingGo I’m responsible for driving the vision and strategy of the team, progressing new ways of working in the organisation and prioritising where we should focus to make the biggest impacts. I have taken on a lot of challenges within both Tui and BookingGo that have revolved around driving forward long term profitable change and overcoming the current hurdles that exist to get there. I’m always looking to develop and be inspired by others around me.

Fraser Stewart

Fraser Stewart

Corporate account manager (part of the Global Commercial Graduate Programme), British Airways
About: Fraser joined the Global Commercial Graduate Programme at British Airways straight after university and is currently undertaking his first placement as a corporate account manager, with responsibility for more than £11 million in revenue annually. He is heading up projects that aim to reshape the way that the UK and Ireland sales team at BA works, covering areas such as strengthening the Atlantic joint business with American Airlines and changing the way BA interacts with TMCs.


What he said: I believe that through TTG’s 30 Under 30 programme I will be introduced to my career-driven counterparts in the wider travel industry, while also having the opportunity to meet leaders in the industry whose level I aspire to reach in the future.

Izzi Robinson

Izzi Robinson

Tour supervisor, The Appointment Group (TAG) – Global Touring UK
About: In just one year Izzi progressed from tour specialist to the role of TAG Global Touring supervisor, overseeing one of three teams within the London operation, which she has been looking after for more than a year and a half.

 

What her nominator said: As soon as Izzi joined TAG Global Touring I saw great potential in her. She proved she was perfect for the role of supervisor and she continues to prove it every day. Izzi is dependable, efficient, and she is always willing to go the extra mile for staff and clients alike. In a fast-paced industry such as touring, she has always proved she can keep her calm and solve problems swiftly.

Jack Green

Jack Green

Director, Promenade Travel
About: Jack established independent high street travel agency Promenade Travel in Bridlington, East Yorkshire in November 2017.

 

What he said: I began my career at a Thomas Cook retail store as an apprentice, and completed my foundation degree in travel operations management in my spare time. After progressing internally within Cook, I moved to Hays Travel to run their new branch in York. I am now the sole director of Promenade Travel and I have ambitious growth plans.

Jessica Lang

Jessica Lang

Local store marketing manager, Flight Centre
About: Starting off on the graduate programme in Australia, Jessica has worked her way up to leading the local store marketing strategy in the UK and Ireland for Flight Centre. This involves overseeing all events, sponsorships and in-store merchandising for 85 stores.

What she said: In 2015, after completing the Flight Centre graduate programme, I moved to London to pursue my career in travel and worked in the air product team for 18 months before accepting this role. My biggest success has been expanding our relationships within the local community through large-scale sponsorships, such as Brighton Pride.

Jorge Quibell

Jorge Quibell

Sales executive, If Only
About: Jorge joined Thomas Cook in 2009 as an apprentice sales consultant, working through various roles before joining If Only in 2016. He covers the Midlands, south-east and south-west, meeting with agent partners and promoting the If Only brand to the trade.

 

What his nominator said: Jorge is dedicated, focused, and one of the most approachable people I know in travel. He excelled while at Cook through sheer hard work and by not always taking the easy roles. Seeing the bigger picture got him his role with If Only.

Juliane Schittek

Juliane Schittek

Marketing manager B2C Europe, Intrepid Group
About: After returning from a stint living in China, Schittek decided to travel around Asia and achieved a double master’s degree from universities in China and Italy. She started working at Intrepid to “turn her passion into a career”.

 

What her nominator said: Juliane started at Intrepid in February 2017 and has since been promoted to B2C Europe marketing manager. She is a great asset to the team and has delivered excellent growth in her area, seeing German online revenue rise by 125% year-on-year and German calls to book up by 50%. Juliane can speak five different languages including German, Italian, Chinese and French and brings plenty of enthusiasm, knowledge and creative ideas.

Lee Ainsworth

Lee Ainsworth

Trading and product manager, The Advantage Travel Partnership
About: Lee joined The Advantage Travel Partnership to help implement Advantage Holidays, the in-house tour operation. His role takes a holistic view, with commercial, operations and product being his main focuses.


What he said: My life in travel started when I became a retail travel consultant in 2009. Roll forward two years and it was clear that my passion was in product and tour operating. I entered a new role, progressing to head of product. In 2016 I took up my latest challenge at Advantage where I can realise one of my key goals, leading on turning a business plan for a new start-up into a live business.

Louie Davis

Louie Davis

Commercial graduate, Thomas Cook
About: After graduating from Oxford, Louie joined Thomas Cook on their future leaders graduate programme. He is tasked with improving the customer journey and maximising the financial performance of the group.

What he said: Over the past 18 months I’ve been given a great opportunity to rotate through four different departments, including ancillaries, marketing, product and yield. This professional journey has equipped me with an extensive commercial skill set, which I use to develop, deliver and execute business improvements at Cook. I thoroughly enjoy networking across the travel industry. It is a fast-paced and innovative industry filled with fascinating people and I look forward to getting to know the 2018 cohort.

Lucy Harris

Lucy Harris

Senior business development representative, Holland America Line and Seabourn
About: Lucy has worked for the two brands since July 2015. This was her first role in travel after graduating from university in 2013.

 

What she said: I initially joined the team supporting our field-based business development managers. In the last year I have stepped up and taken on account management for a number of our emerging key partners. During this period I managed to increase our sales with these partners, particularly within the long-haul market, resulting in some of these agents increasing revenue by up to 200%.

Luke Golding

Luke Golding

Associate, Travlaw
About: Luke joined specialist travel industry law firm Travlaw in 2011 and now works as part of the firm’s commercial department, which involves advising a large number of travel industry companies on a variety of matters encompassing issues such as the Package Travel Regulations, Atol, data protection and the General Data Protection Regulation, along with drafting and negotiating contractual arrangements. He also heads up
the employment department.

What his nominator said: Luke has the ability to explain complex legal matters to clients in a way that is easy to understand and digest, while still being thorough. His attention to detail and technical knowledge, both of the law and the travel industry, combined with his excellent work ethic, enthusiasm and positive attitude make him an excellent commercial lawyer.

Luke Vanderhoeven

Luke Vanderhoeven

Regional sales manager, MSC Cruises
About: Luke joined MSC Cruises in April 2017 in a newly-created role. He is responsible for growing retail and commercial partnerships in the south west and south Wales, and also account manages strategic partnerships
in this area.


What his nominator said: Luke’s remit has been to build a successful sales territory from zero, which has meant new thinking and strategies. His commercial acumen has brought new ways of working to “Team Retail” at MSC. Luke also has a strong service ethic. We frequently receive comments about his inspiring, enthusiastic and infectious nature from trade partners. Last year Luke was instrumental in the delivery of our MSC Magnificent 7 events.

Maria Popova

Maria Popova

Sales manager, ONYX Hospitality Group
About: Maria joined SLC Representation in 2016. She has worked on various accounts, including the Pacific Asia Travel Association, the Australian portfolio, and now ONYX Hospitality Group. In her latest role she is managing a portfolio of hotels.

 

What her nominator said: When Maria joined the company, she quickly became an invaluable member of the team. She has worked across a number of clients, including tourism bodies and hotel products. Maria has proven herself to be a consummate professional and is dedicated to all she does. Her enthusiasm and personality are infectious.

Marie Vandeplassche

Marie Vandeplassche

Senior account manager – tourist boards and partnerships, group product and purchasing, Tui Group
About: Marie joined the Tui Group through its International Graduate Leadership Programme. After five assignments across Europe, she joined the tourist boards and partnerships team, where she now holds the role of senior account manager for the northern region.


What her nominator said: Marie has clear ambitions to develop her career further within Tui Group and enjoys the international environment and global opportunities. She speaks three languages fluently and has mastered the challenges that come along with being responsible for two source markets. Marie is truly resilient, open-minded, extremely calm under pressure, and an inspiration to her team and colleagues.

Michael Gilmore

Michael Gilmore

Head of operations, World Travel Holdings UK
About: Michael is responsible and accountable for the end-to-end customer journey and continuous improvement of World Travel Holdings UK’s customer experience. He splits his time between working with the customer service manager, customer relations manager and concierge support manager, who report to him.

 

What his nominator said: Michael has articulated his vision to the wider team and executed his plan superbly, demonstrating outstanding communication and management skills. These skills have enabled Michael to positively influence both the UK and US executive team. More recently Michael has successfully project managed the WTH contact centre’s omnichannel delivery strategy.

Molly Smithson

Molly Smithson

Membership manager at The Travel Vault
About: Molly joined The Travel Vault in 2016 after graduating from the University of Greenwich before joining start-up The Travel Vault (TTV).

 

What her nominator said: Molly has been instrumental in helping TTV reach its first 100 members. She makes an enormous daily contribution to a range of tasks, from customer service to training members on how to use our booking platform. She does all of this with a calm, unassuming modesty that makes her a genuine pleasure to have on the team. I expect TTG’s 30 Under 30 exposure to a diverse peer group and an informative, thought-provoking programme of events will really help her confidence, professional development and networking skills.

Natalie Keeler

Natalie Keeler

Manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Ten Group
About: Natalie has been working at Ten Group for almost five years, starting as a lifestyle manager (sales) in the travel team and then moving on to become a manager in July 2016. Previous to Ten she worked for Tui for four years, in-store as well as overseas.

 

What her nominator said: Natalie’s dedication to people prompted me to nominate her. She is an exceptional mentor with an eye for outstanding talent, who is well on her way to becoming one of our global travel and operational leaders. Through her dedication and perseverance she has improved the quality of service we offer to members, as well as the department’s productivity. I see Natalie as one of the travel concierge sector’s rising stars, continually coming up with ideas to improve and transform our business.

Oliver Maye

Oliver Maye

Travel advisor, Midcounties Co-operative Travel
About: Oliver joined Midcounties Co-operative in May 2015 as a trainee travel advisor, after completing his travel and tourism qualifications at Walsall College.

 

What he said: I really took off when I joined the branch and became the 7th top seller in the company that same year. Last year I won two TTG Travel Awards for High Street Agent Of the Year – Multiple and also Young Agent of the Year, which I am so proud of.

Sahil Shah

Sahil Shah

Managing director, Sujester
About: Sujester helps travel companies provide personalised and interactive content to their customers through a customisable platform. Sahil is in charge of all things commercial, from sales and hiring to fundraising. He also runs Sujester’s content strategy and contributes to the technical strategy.


What his nominator said: Sahil has been an entrepreneur from the get-go. He briefly ran a fintech start-up while studying at Cambridge University, and designed a stiletto shoe that folded into a flat. He then started point-to-point multimodal trip planning app TripSnapp, agreeing partnerships with transport providers such as Distribusion. Sujester has partnerships with tourist boards around the world and is working with agents in the UK, US and Australia.

Sam Gemmell

Sam Gemmell

Account executive, Qantas Airways
About: Sam joined Qantas in 2016 following roles in the travel industry with On The Go Tours and Flight Centre. Her role at Qantas involves managing key accounts, visiting agents and facilitating training.

 

What she said: Having worked as a travel consultant I am aware of what a huge benefit training can be for helping agents to become an expert, and driving sales and conversion. Since joining Qantas my passion for training and product knowledge has continued to grow and I’m lucky enough to see the direct impact this can have on our trade partners. A recent development has been the launch of our dedicated training platform – Qantas Learning Hub – here in the UK.

Thomas Bray

Thomas Bray

Sales team leader, Intrepid Travel
About: Thomas started his career in travel as a ski instructor in Japan. From the cold slopes of east Asia, he decided to spend some time travelling south Asia, and spent six weeks driving a tuk tuk around India. In 2013 he joined Intrepid Travel as an adventure travel consultant.


What he said: I’ve been lucky enough to visit 65 countries so far and I try to plan a trip to a different destination every year – this year I’m hoping to visit Iceland, Colombia and Venezuela. During my first year with Intrepid I won the best seller award in the UK and in 2016 won the Europe, Middle East and Africa best sales performance award, both of which allowed me to travel to our Melbourne office as part of the prize. In December 2016 I was promoted to my current role and since then have led the team to achieve 26% growth in 2017 and their first £1 million day in January.

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