Strictly Business: Pippa O'Keefe, founder, Pippa Rose Lifestyle

I got into travel… by wanting to jump ship from working in politics. Original Travel, where a very good friend of mine was working at the time, said they had a position as a product and marketing consultant, which really appealed to me.

I started my business… in August 2018 while also helping to run a family member’s luxury villa business in the Algarve. Having worked across a few different sectors in the industry I thought it was time to set up my own venture where I could put clients at the forefront and personalise everything I do, from the individual trip to the way I market myself and the brand.

I have grown my business by… constantly connecting with suppliers be it through one-to-ones, phone calls or trade shows. Aside from the obvious networking and marketing side of my day, I spend a lot of time focusing on client experience. For example, before and after-care such as welcome home packs, tailor-made gifts and remembering significant occasions such as dogs’ birthdays. This has led to repeat business but also strong word of mouth.

The hardest aspect of the pandemic is… the unpredictability and fluidity of the travel corridors and, of course, the blanket bans we’ve had on international travel.

I’ve adapted to the situation by… having a constantly updated ‘where to travel and when’ manual for my clients and flexible booking terms.

What I have learned from the pandemic is… people are steering away from faceless entities and towards someone they can trust and engage with. Both the trade and consumers will look at travel in a more conscious light as well as aiming to tick off those bucket-list trips.

The supplier I have the strongest partnership with is… 360 Private Travel. The team is great and we have all rallied to really support each other through these testing times.

My proudest career achievement is… meeting Bill Bensley! As such an icon in the industry I have admired him for years, so much so I even pretended we were friends to get into a bar at one of his hotels in Cambodia. He enjoyed that story and was such a great energy to spend time with.

My biggest industry bug bear is... Companies that claim to be environmentally friendly as more of a marketing gimmick. It isn’t enough anymore to just say we care about the environment because we offer to not change the sheets daily, or change in-room water bottles to glass instead of plastic, yet have plastic bottles in the gym.

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