A travel agency in Wiltshire was named the best in the South West by industry bible, Travel Trade Gazette (TTG). Travel by Hannah in Marlborough was named the South West’s Top Agency as part of the TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies 2022: an annual power-list of the nation’s best agents.
Travel by Hannah, located on Marlborough’s high-street opened in December 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Owner Hannah Porter says many questioned the decision to start up a travel business at this time, “I don’t blame them!” said Hannah. “I had worked in travel for a number of years and I was working for an independent agency for a number of years when the pandemic hit”.
The agency she was working for at the time had decided to close partly due to pandemic uncertainty and so she was left without a job, prompting her to think of starting her own business. “I thought well this is really bad timing but it could be really good timing if everything goes well, which was hedging my bets at the time” Hannah told WiltshireLive.
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“I thought well if I’m going to go for it I should go for it now. They tell you when you start a business to prepare to lose for your first year and I thought well if I start at this moment surely it can’ don’t get any worse!” The risk paid off and Hannah says the company have had a fantastic first year, despite some awful months during lockdowns when nobody could travel.
Hannah didn’t feel too daunted about starting the business as her family have businesses and she says it is a natural way of life for her. However she says she was worried about how the travel industry was going to fare through the pandemic. “I said to myself at the time, I was 25 and I was like look I want to do this for the rest of my life. I’ve got to make this work, its either going to go wrong in the first two three years or its going to go really right and ill be here for twenty thirty years”.
The TTG Top 50 ceremony took place at The Vox in Birmingham, with almost 450 of the UK and Ireland’s top travel agents and supplier-partners in attendance. Hannah said she still has no idea who nominated the agency for the award but says she was “truly overwhelmed” when she learned they had won best agency in the South West and Top 20 in the whole of the UK.
She said: “I knew we had been shortlisted for top five but to be announced as the winner I had instant tears I was like ‘Oh my goodness’. Its so lovely to be recognized for the hard work that you put into something when I am working lots of hours of the day.
“People don’t realize when you work in travel- we have people traveling all the time and you are required to be on hand for any unpredictable thing”.
TTG group editor Pippa Jacks said: “Travel agents have come through the most challenging two years in the industry’s history, but by offering expert advice and support to customers throughout the pandemic, our Top 50 winners have all won new clients and are looking ahead to a bright future.”
About Travel by Hannah’s win, judges said: “Hannah and her team possess the perfect mix of experience, expertise and dedication required to be able to providing outstanding service to their customers. Getting out into the local community and proactively promoting more sustainable travel options also helped this passionate team stand out this year. A very worthy winner.”
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