The travel industry has been my career ‘home’ for more than 35 years; I loved it then and I love it now. It was my uncle who first got me interested in working in travel; I’d spend time with him at his job at Heathrow Airport, watching him check people in for their flights.
Starting on the Youth Training Scheme in 1985, earning £27.50 a week and working for a small independent travel agent at the age of 16, was certainly a learning curve but one I enjoyed.
Fast forward to 2019 and I applied for a Business Travel Consultant role at Reed & Mackay’s London office.
I’d heard good things about the company. Firstly, about how it had a ‘one big family’ vibe and also the innovation of its global technology platform – the R&M/iQ suite of products. When I saw what it could do to help with booking processes I was seriously impressed. It really is state-of-the-art and unlike anything else I’d used before.
staying positive in a challenging time
Pre-2020, the business travel industry was in a buoyant place. We were all busy every day and there was a great buzz in the team. We always faced challenges of getting people from A to B – and even A to C – but it was at times like this that the team would pull together and help each other.
When the pandemic hit, and I was made redundant, I was deeply saddened but understood why these tough decisions were made. I always knew Reed & Mackay would have me back at the earliest opportunity.
Like for everyone else in that situation, it was a tough and worrying time but I was confident it would all bounce back. Reed & Mackay kept in contact throughout, which made life easier.
The travel industry has always had challenges thrown at it. I worked through the time of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 2010 and, when I worked in retail travel, some major tour operators went under, yet the industry always battled through and came out the other side.
I had no doubt this would happen again, as the travel industry is certainly a resilient one!
why it’s still great to work in travel
Despite working in other industries during lockdown I knew my heart was always in travel. I leapt at the opportunity to rejoin Reed & Mackay as a homeworking Business Travel Consultant for the Aberdeen team.
Working for Reed & Mackay was, and still is, like working for a large family. The company culture is a key reason why I enjoy my role here so much. Everyone looks out for each other; you’re treated with respect and everyone has a voice.
You’re trusted to get on with your work, knowing someone is only a Teams message/phone call away if you need them. No two days are the same and you’re always made to feel valued.
Although the travel industry has faced challenges, I felt reassured about coming back to it. COVID-19 may still be with us but we are learning to adapt. The pandemic reinforced how everything can be taken away in the blink of an eye and I feel that has driven us to form closer bonds with each other…and that’s a good thing.
The business travel sector is vital to the UK economy and we seeing that people are eager to travel again. There’s definitely a future for the travel industry after COVID-19; we are coming out the other side; bigger, better and stronger.
Reed & Mackay was acquired by Navan in May 2021; this investment says so much about what the future holds here and I feel really positive about it. And I’m excited about the new innovations in the pipeline for the company.
We are now happily reaching those times once again where travel is really taking off – and the buzz is even better now than before. Come and join the team!