Strictly Business: Travel By Hannah

Pannah Porter, director, Travel By Hannah

I got into travel… aged 20, when I moved to Bristol after leaving school and backpacking around Australia. I had no real plan except to embrace life! I saw an advert for a local travel agency and applied.

I am blessed that my family prioritised travel as I grew up, so I was able to draw on my experiences and secure the role. After that, I worked in villa rentals and for a small independent agency that closed during Covid – with a push from my dad, I took the chance to create Travel By Hannah.

I started my business… in December 2020, hoping that Covid would show the true value of a travel agent. I was lucky to take on a great high street location [in Marlborough, Wiltshire] and, combined with my focus on social media, I gained great momentum – singlehandedly at first. I then hired a team and we enjoyed a sharp rise in demand.

I’ve grown the business through… lots of hard work, patience and trusting the process. I keep up to date with industry news and I filter this into my team and on to customers. I believe people buy from people, so you have to be in the know and be able to build trust through honesty.

The area of the business growing the most is… ‘added value’ travel. Everyone wants something out of the ordinary. We’ve seen a huge uptake of building tours into itineraries and adding ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experiences. It’s joyous that most bookings now have a good sprinkle of luxury and an experience focus.

The supplier I have the strongest relationship with is… too hard to pick! I’m proud of my contacts and relationships across the industry. Creating Travel By Hannah, I implemented a non[1]negotiable match-making strategy of coordinating clients’ needs to the suppliers that best suit, rather than prioritising supplier loyalty. We therefore have a fabulous range of names on our booking records.

My proudest career achievement is… opening Travel By Hannah at the age of 25 and reaching my five-year turnover target within two years. This, as well as being awarded accolades along the way. I never thought in the stress of setting up during Covid and experiencing several family losses that I’d be here now.

I believe every day is an opportunity – I have hired and taught three individuals new to the industry to be my current team, making 2023 another year of growth. I’m so proud of where we are and that we continue to retain and attract customers as time goes on.

My biggest travel bugbear is... When everyone crowds the baggage carousels at the airport, so nobody can see or reach their luggage!

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