Travel is finally back on the menu. Perhaps you’ve already taken the plunge and booked a trip, but if you need inspiration, two local travel agents reveal how the last two years have affected their business and what holidays are trending post-pandemic.
Teddington-based Swords Travel is run by Alex Paladino.
As a travel consultant, I have had two very difficult years but as a company our first job when the pandemic hit was to try to help all our clients who were impacted. Then we tried to stay positive, while doing other jobs in the meantime. We knew that eventually travel would come back and we were right to think so since travel has now seen a huge come-back.
I’m seeing a lot of people who before the pandemic would book their own holiday – now they’re coming to us to book their travels, knowing that they will be 100% financially protected.
All in all, I have been 26 years in the industry I totally love. (I’ve been a Travel Designer for the last five years, after having worked 20 years in the airline industry).
A lot of my clients are regulars who have booked holidays with me before but I also get a lot of new clients through word-of-mouth recommendation.
I can book any kind of holiday but I certainly help a lot of families with their travel plans. Having a family of my own and all of us being avid travellers, I’m able to help clients with families to choose the right resort and destination based on their needs and requirements.
I also book a lot of holidays for couples to the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean and adventure holidays in general, especially to destinations like the USA, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Latin America.
What sets me apart are definitely my customer service and my knowledge of destinations and resorts. I travel plenty for work and leisure so I always try to stay up-to-date with the products we sell.
This year I would definitely recommend Greece, Italy, Croatia and Malta for a short haul break, while for long haul definitely the USA, Bali, the Caribbean and the Maldives.
Contact: Alex Paladino
Tel: 0203 907 1106 / 07970 505777
Crusader Travel in Twickenham is a family business run by Bruce, Hedda and Shona Lyons.
As a long-established small agency, we were perhaps more fortunate than some; the first year of COVID-19 did, indeed, hit hard, but living and working locally made us more flexible than many and much of 2020 was spent managing abandoned bookings with short gaps in between when some could travel. In those times travel was entirely different to before in that each journey was complicated by the new normal with all its disciplines, rules and protocols. As time went by rules were relaxed and the public revisited the wider travel options open to them. With over two years of lost seasons, we’re finding the public cherishing special celebrations and, in many cases, a bigger budget. We also see a big increase in VFR (visiting family and relatives) travel. Another big feature this year is Adventure Travel, especially for families with teens as these families lost two seasons of the years where many of the best memories are created.
Many clients are repeat loyal and local but also many from a wider catchment, especially those travelling on wildlife and scuba itineraries. Or those interested in Egypt/Jordan and Israel – destinations that pre-pandemic we tour-operated to.
We’re agents for most leading tour operators, both family-focused like TUI, Jet2 and easyJet Holidays, plus luxury brands like If Only, Carrier, Seasons and more. Over time we have developed close relationships with a great number of the UK’s specialist operators and provide insightful information on the widest range of travel enquiries, drawn from our many years of successful trading with these specialists.
After two years of being banned from travel, make your next trip something you’ll remember for the rest of your life, be it a family get-together or a destination on your ‘Wish List’. Maybe a trip to the Antarctic, a wildlife safari, or a trip down Route 66. Cherish these special moments when you can – this is something we have all learnt from the experiences of the last two years.
Visit: 57 Church Street, Twickenham Middlesex TW1 3NR.
Phone: 020 8744 0474