I read that Seasons in Style has been bought by The Eden Collection. There is a tinge of sadness here as it seems that many of the top quality operators are being taken over or vanishing. I have always associated Seaosn in Style, rightly or wrongly, alongside companies like Elegant Resorts - another specialist that was taken over. Not sure what Graham George (Seasons MD) will be doing, but hope he and his team will all be fine with it. Catch up by phone with my good freind Karen Stone of Classic Travel in Loughton, Essex. She came on a Nile Cruise fam trip with me some 10 years ago, and her camera ran out of film (for the youngsters reading this, film is a tape type of thing we used to put in cameras to record pictures). She has just returned from Luxor in order to take some pictures!
Put a proposal together for a very unusual piece of work - watch this space (possibly). Collect the kids from nursery this evening to find that both kids have had the same lunch and tea, and guess what the meals included......lunch had vegetarian curry and tea had baked beans. Thanks a lot - a very good decision of the wife to go out this evening - must remember to close the windows later. Catch up by phone with Cresside Sergeant (nee Van Doorn) of Teletext - she is on maternity leave having given birth to Harry and appears to be blooming. We used to work together when she was Account Manager at lastminute.com and I was at Peltours.
Spend today researching market trends, and reading how the City bankers will soon be receiving their bonuses back - I'm so pleased for them - lose all of "our" money and get rewarded, perfect. However, it does of course present opportunities for those smart travel agents and operators to persuade them to part with their soft earned cash (which we have worked so hard for) with an holiday. Go get 'em!
Spend today continuing to prepare tenders for potential clients. Do some research and find that the best selling long haul holidays destinations online in the last week were Mexico, Maldives, Thailand and Domincan Republic. Interesting and encouraging that Mexico seems to be recovering, although sure that much of that is down to price. Catching up too on reading the trade press and delighted to read that Julia Smith of Tana Travel won the Mystery Shopper award. Tana is a very professional outfit, and Neil and Philip are real characters. I accompanied Julia on an Educational Trip a few years ago and she has three massive plus points: 1. she is charming 2. she is very professional 3. she is a rugby union supporter. The downside......she supports Wales ! Swing low, sweet chariot.........
Suffice to say that I learnt that my children are in total control of this household.
Day off today. That means looking after the kids in the morning - work is definitely easier. Afternoon spent watching the rugby: England get well beaten by the all Blacks, but certainly not disgraced. Seems like the days when our front five could mix it with the best of them are becoming a distant memory. Friends over for dinner and the Mrs makes the best banoffee pie I've ever tasted. Washed it down with Chilean Merlot (Tesco's own "Frontera") and I'm sorted. Perhaps I need to try and find some Caribbean and Chilean clients to represent......
Well I know I'm not (being served). Changed web server today to ensure hosting without problems - and manage to find myself without any incoming emails. Life without emails and I felt positively (or not) helpless - a sad state of affairs. Will be sorted by tomorrow lunch time, allegedly. Pat at Langley Travel should be on her way to South Africa today - my it is a tough life being a travel agent. I know of six other travel agents travelling long-haul this week-end - and let's spare a thought while they all jet off to the sunshine for all the people of Cockermouth and other affected areas. Our thoughts are with you.
Been hearing terrible reports from Egypt that their world cup football qualifier against Algeria in Khartoum has turned into a bloodbath. Apparently, hoards of convicts were taken by the Algerians and armed with knives and set loose on the Egyptian fans - this is after the offices of a major Egyptian telephone company had been attacked earlier in the week. It's been on the news here only very briefly, but this appears to be serious - and now the Egyptians are withdrawing their Ambassador to Algeria. Of course, this is big news in Egypt but does not affect holidaymakers who will be thoroughly enjoying their holidays.
Sadness across the industry as Croatia specialist Holiday Options fails. Speak to Alison Jago at Completely Croatia who suspects her phone lines will be red hot following the collapse. Surprised to see Light Blue Travel picking up the forward bookings - I do not know who they are but don't think they are a Croatia specialist. Wonder how that has happened. Some 24 year old chap sent Saracens Rugby Club a text to enter a competition. He duly managed to kick a rugby ball last night at the game some 30 metres and managed to make it hit the crossbar full on - in front of 48,000 screaming fans at Wembley during half time - and won a cool £250k. Trust me, he was not cool! Fantastic to witness it and what a game: Sarries 24 - S.A. 23. One for the good guys.
I am hearing rumblings that a specialist tour operator may be experiencing difficulties. Not sure if true, but if so, very disappointing. More rumblings tonight - of 18 stone rugby union players - am off to watch Saracens play against South Africa - definitely some sort of irony there as most of the Sarries team seem to be South African themselves. Never been to Wembley Stadium where the game is, so looking forward to it....but not the journey to the stadium.....surely the trip can not be as awful as the train journeys to Excel.