In 1980 with no industry experience and only a desk at the back of my mum's children's wear shop in Co Durham, I struggled to get my travel business off the ground. However from the minute we opened that first small retail shop in Seaham, I was hooked - I fell in love with the travel industry.
We've come a long way since our small beginnings. Today we are the UK's largest independent travel agent and while we hear of only doom and gloom in the industry news these days, we're still growing all the time. Our turnover last year was a record £500 million. We've broken our own record year on year as we've invested to maintain our enviable position as a frontrunner within the industry.
Here at Hays Travel we are fully ABTA and ATOL bonded, offering our customers complete financial security. With our independent status, we really can offer impartial advice and find our customers their ideal holiday. We work with hundreds of suppliers to ensure this.
Over thirty years down the line, we employ over 800 people. Ask these people, or the companies and clients who deal with us, and you'll find they usually use the same words to describe us at Hays Travel - professional and friendly.
We're also a company that cares. We have been regularly awarded Investor in People accreditation and were selected as one of the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies in the UK to Work For. We have always engaged with local communities and staff get involved in charity and fundraising events on a regular basis. I like to think we're a company with heart and a company that rewards hard work.
I have also been surprised and delighted to receive some prestigious travel industry awards over the years, picking up a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Agent Achievement Awards, an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2009 Globe Travel Awards and to have been inaugurated into the British Travel Industry 'Hall of Fame' in 2010.
"We're looking for people who are passionate about the industry. People who want to enjoy the rewards of their work. People who can carry our ethos....professional and friendly."