LIGHT BULB MOMENTS | AA Events and Travel
HIGHLIGHTING ANGELA HAYWARD
UNITED KINGDOM - Meet Angela Hayward... an Independent Travel Agent (ITA) all the way from the UK. She started her career 38 years ago as a chambermaid in a local hotel, fell in love with the hotel life, and decided to make it her career. She ultimately found her niche in hotel sales and events, however, for the first time in 38 years she found herself without a job and out of the industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After applying for many jobs and being told she was over-qualified, she knew she had to look for something else. Please read the interview below to see how Angela incorporated her sales and hospitality skills to redefine her circumstances.
H&F: Please describe your career prior to this venture.
Angela: Prior to starting my own travel business, I have over 38 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. During this time, I’ve worked for luxury global hotel groups such as Hilton, interContinental, Golden Tulip, and Portsmouth Football Club. In each business, I’ve mainly held the title ‘Sales Manager’, and have traveled extensively throughout the UK and in Europe for my job.
H&F: How has your career prepared you for what is next?
Angela: Well, as well as the travel I did in my previous roles, there are a couple of other things that have helped prepare me. Working in the hospitality industry see’s you working long hours, so it’s something I am already used to doing. On top of this, every day is different, every day you come across obstacles to jump over, and every day you are looking to see how you can grow the business. My new venture is exactly the same only now, all this hard work goes towards growing MY business, not somebody else’s.
H&F: Tell us about how you have redefined yourself. Describe your business.
Angela: I already had the determination and right mindset to be my own boss, I just needed the idea. When it came to me that I could amalgamate my experience in events and travel and turn it into a paycheque, I was raring to go.
So I went about putting a name to the company, something simple that explained what I was doing and was easy for people to remember; that’s when I landed on ‘AA’. This came from my first and maiden name, ‘Angela Anderson’, but I also incorporated ‘Amazing Adventures’ within that too.
The next step was building a logo and a website. I wanted these to define me as a person, so I went for bold with a hint of color. My website tabs change color when you click on each tab, this represented me adapting to what was coming next. What you see is what you get, it’s clear, to the point, and covers everything a corporate client may require, along with what an individual would be looking for from a personal Independent Travel Agent and event organizer.
Lastly, I also incorporated my sales skills and experience to help smaller companies. These guys often get overlooked by larger corporations, so by looking at their travel and event needs, seeing where I can save them money, and negotiating on their behalf, I’m able to work with various sized budgets covering a much wider clientele base. On the other side of that, you have the smaller hotels themselves; I’m looking at how I can grow their business through yield management and training to encourage more of my clients to book with them.
H&F: How did your project get started? When/how did you get that “light bulb” moment to start this brand?
Angela: With hospitality being so badly affected in 2020 with the global pandemic, I like many others, unfortunately, was made redundant.
"After applying for multiple roles to no avail, watching more and more large event businesses shut down, and worst of all, watch colleagues and friends fall into a deep depression, I needed to have a serious think about what was next for me."- Angela
I had been approached several times by a company to become an Independent Travel Agent, but at the time, I hadn’t been too sure about it, or how it all worked. I was then approached by someone I used to work with which made me feel a lot more at ease about having an initial chat. We talked through the pros and cons; I explained I wanted to include events and business development so I could grow a large team and by the end of the chat, I was ready to go!
I found out that by taking out their travel software, I by no means worked for them, it was entirely my business to grow as I saw fit, but I was provided with everything I needed. This being, the software itself to book travel through, all the training required not only on how to use the system, but how to make my business a success. On top of this, I had access to multiple pre-made relationships with top tourism suppliers worldwide and, they provided membership to ABTA and IATA, both very important, and ATOL when booking with certain suppliers. It really was a no brainer for me.
H&F: Tell us something unique about your brand. What do you want the world to know? Angela: To serve my clients with enhanced events and travel experience by providing quality service. Valuing relationships with our customers, partners, and suppliers. Listening and communicating with our customers to deliver clients' expectations. Ensuring excellent customer service at every step. Offering an all-round service from the time you step outside your front door/office to the time you step back into your home or office.
H&F: Do you have any advice for those looking to get out and travel?
Angela: Do it now or you may regret it! Of course in the current climate I’m advising all my clients to take procurations when traveling, IE, wearing a mask on the plane, have hand sanitizer in their bag, etc… But please don’t be afraid to travel. Something to remember, all the air in an aircraft cabin is filtered and replaced with fresh air on average every three minutes. Most aircraft are fitted with HEPA, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air, filters. This system filters more than 99.99% of dust particles and airborne contaminants such as viruses and bacteria. If you’re happy visiting the supermarket, you should be happy vising another country, just be safe in both instances.
H&F: Where are your favorite places to visit?
Angela: I love Alora, a small village in Spain. - The mountain views are amazing. I also love the Algarve and Barcelona. I lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years when I was a child and would love to go back again.
H&F: What encouraging advice would you offer someone unsure about starting their own venture?
Angela: First of all, stop sitting on the fence and just do it! My main advice though would be, decide what you want to do and what your goals are to start with. Then be organized, disciplined, consistent, and understand it’s not going to happen overnight, it will take time and that’s ok.
"Have a positive mindset always, and be around positive people as they will keep you energized. Lastly, believe in yourself, if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything!" - Angela
For anyone reading this that intrigued to find out if this business opportunity could work for you as it has me, I would advise you to check out www.travelandearn.co.uk. If you would like to speak to me further about this business, please do fill in a form on the contacts page, pop my name in and I’ll get in touch!
H&F: Anything else you want to share?
Angela: Everyone has great skill sets, when you are looking to set up a company use those skill sets and promote where you can. Make sure you speak to everyone and anyone about your company as you never know what they can do for you. I was in a Chinese restaurant before we went into lockdown again and I was speaking to the owner and we were chatting about hotels. It came to light that they had recently bought a hotel and were struggling with growing the business. I was their solution, I now have a small consultant contract in place. Training the staff in all departments, updating their website, and growing their business by introducing yield management and events.
Visit Angela's website at https:///aaeventsandtravel.com
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