Guest blog by Tiffany Woodley from Myriad Travel:
The travel industry is huge and diverse and having worked in three very different sectors within it I don’t think I could have chosen a better career. I stated working in hotels at the age of 16 whilst at college and eventually moved to London to pursue a career in the industry.
I worked like an apprentice experiencing every department and over the next two years I was making beds, serving meals, making cocktails, manning the switchboard, and cooking the breakfast whilst learning along the way. The hours were long but it was fun with a great buzz! By the time I “graduated” I was Rooms Division Manager of a large hotel in central London.
However the shifts and long hours eventually did not mix with family life so whilst on maternity leave I found a small company in the village where I lived. Unbelievably they were building a resort in the Maldives, the first of its kind – 5* ultra-luxury. For the next couple of years I sourced items for the new resort, shipped them, liaised with the contractors amongst other duties and then, once built, I was tasked with the job of filling the resort with paying guests.
I travelled around Europe training travel agents and encouraging them to send us their clients. I also had the enviable job (not without its challenges) of booking VIP celebrities into the resorts and meeting their various demands – of course, a few trips to the Maldives were greatly appreciated! This was only the first resort and in the 10 years I was with the company we opened resorts in Thailand, Vietnam and Oman. This all involved lots of travel and firmly put me on the path to my next adventure – opening my own travel agency!
By this time I was back in my home town of Liverpool which I thought was lacking in independent travel agencies. So in 2007 Myriad Travel was born in my garage, I invested all our savings and became a member of the Global Travel Group consortia which enabled me to trade as a travel agent and meet all the legal requirements. My vision was to create a travel agency were customer service was paramount and going the extra mile was normal.
I was blessed with great support from my existing clients, family, and friends and slowly but surely I built up a loyal following. I was up at dawn attending breakfast networking meetings, exhibiting at wedding shows, posting leaflets through doors, and advertising in local papers – it was hard work but so rewarding.
By 2010 the business had grown so we moved to a bigger premises. We are available to our clients 24/7 and we won two major industry awards in 2012 and 2015 for ‘Best Independent Agent of the Year’. Of course it hasn’t been all plain sailing, we have to compete against the Internet, and every major incident – whether it be an ash cloud or hurricane, security threat or industrial action – can have a massive impact on us but we have learned to work with it.
In 2015 I took a huge step and purchased our own building. We have hosted various tourist boards, suppliers and hoteliers, offering informative and interesting lectures on their product or destination. Did you know you can swim with pigs in the Bahamas? Or parasail into a resort in Oman?
Along the way I have been fortunate to travel to every continent and have experienced the most amazing resorts. No day is ever the same – I am constantly learning and discovering new resorts whilst making great friends along the way. Travel is ever evolving, changing and always throwing us ‘curveballs’ but I can honestly say I wouldn’t have it any other way! All you need is passion, commitment and great staff!