I joined the team at Holidaysplease as Non-Executive Chairman in the Summer of 2012 and am enjoying helping them to take the business forward to the next exciting level.
Last year I celebrated 50 years in the industry. Having started as a trainee with Thomas Cook I rose to become managing director, UK at the age of 36. I then became MD of the international business, comprising 54 countries. During this time I introduced the famous strap line "don't just book it, Thomas Cook it".
In 2000 I moved to become the MD of Lunn Poly and subsequently Retail Director TUI UK.
In 2004 I was appointed as CEO, Advantage Travel Centres, the largest independent travel consortium. I retired from this role in April 2013.
I was elected as the 1st chairman of ABTA in 2009 and served an unprecedented 4 year term.
In 2009 I was presented with a lifetime achievement award as well as being inducted in to the Travel Industry Hall of Fame in 2010 and also received an industry outstanding achievement award in 2012.
I'm Charles, I am one of the directors of the business.
I am far too old to give you my complete life story but I co-founded this group of companies and have helped to build it to almost 100 people now. I am particularly proud of the staff we employ, the awards we have won and the incredible feedback that we get from customers.
I started life as a corporate lawyer buying and selling businesses and around 15 years ago I decided to throw the pinstripe suit in the bin and start my own business. My parents were more than a little shocked, especially when I went from a lawyer's salary to zero salary......overnight!
However as we are getting close to £20m of sales a year now I suppose it wasn't the worst decision I ever made.
In my spare time I love to play golf, I travel twice a year to Atlanta to pratice my skills. I've also trained to become a rescue diver. I've been lucky enough to dive in some amazing places such as the Caymen Islands and the Maldives.
Hopefully you would like to share in our journey and success and I look forward to welcoming you to the family!
After nearly 30 years working in the industry it could be said that I'm a travel veteran. The thing is I don't much care for that tag! I'm still very much young at heart as far as my enjoyment of the business goes.
My career started in sales working for Thomson Holidays in Birmingham. At 22 I was running my own High Street travel agent, and bought a second shop in 1997. Both shops achieved significant growth and in a couple of years represented a multi-Million Pound business. In 2002 I met Charles and together we co-founded luxury online travel company Holidaysplease.co.uk which, we both willingly admit, has become a business wildly beyond our initial expectations!
More than anything I take great pride from seeing people who work with us as Holidaysplease Homeworkers transform their lives and love working and supporting each of them along the way as they do so. I am massively excited about the Family Holidays Franchise opportunity we have created and can't wait to be working alongside every Franchisee as they establish and grow their own businesses. I am lucky enough to have a vast amount of experience and success in the travel business to share for sure.
With two kids in their early 20's who don't need me anymore, and the very understanding Mrs D, I now get plenty of time away from work to devote to running which I love. I recently ran the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours 54 minutes. Afterwards, I said it would be my last marathon, I suspect that this will prove not to be the case!
My role is the creation and ongoing development of the Family Holidays Franchise business, so I'm busy! What I love about my role is the variety, no two days are ever the same.
I've been in travel for over 16years. I had the travel bug at a young age so started my carear as an Apprentice and from there I have been lucky enough to work for some amazing companies such as British Airways & TUI.
I spent 10 wonderful years at TUI. The beauty was that I was able to experience a range of areas of the business, such as designing training for our Apprecticeship programme, developing a team of regional trainers to upskill our retail estate, managing a team of homeworkers who supported our virtual callcentre, managing the retail service measurement programme and desiging the look and feel of our retail stores.
I then set up a callcentre Travel Agency for Staysure specialising in travel for the over 50's.
This has really helped develop my skills and give a rounded view of the industry, all of which I'm pouring into my new role as Head of Franchise.
Outside of work my world is centred around my little boy Ethan, who is car obsessed at 2 yrs old!
My role is varied. I support Jo with the ongoing development of the business, but my main role is to help franchisees build thriving businesses.
I'm the main point of contact for people interested in coming on board with us, from the initial conversations right through to the training. Once you are set up I support you with marketing, website development, sales questions plus anything else you may need, so I'm here to support you at every stage of your journey.
I have a varied background mainly in sales and business development, most recently in travel.
I worked for Trailfinders managing and training sales teams in Kensington and Richmond, winning competitions along the way. I was then promoted to assistant manager in Richmond before making the move to the Midlands.
Travel has an always be a big part of my life. My wife Emma and I travelled together for 18 months around the world and try to take 2-3 holidays a year.
Outside of work I have twins, a little boy Jude and a little girl Annabelle who keep me on my toes. When they're asleep you'll find me either playing football, or squash.
I also keep busy in my workshop making all sorted of things from woodwork, metalwork and painting. Most recently I've been working on sculptures made with recycled wire. So I like to keep myself busy.
I'm Katie and have been at HQ for 7 years now. I started running the Customer Care Team, after taking a year out to bring a small person in to the world, I now work part time as an Operations Manager Aka "Katie will sort it"!
After a six month stint teaching in India, a Hospitality Management degree and another six months running away...I mean travelling South America, Australasia and Asia, I've worked in travel for 14 years. I started in a student travel agency and then moved on to set up a travel agency within a volunteer project company and eventually ran their Peru projects. Love brought me Birmingham where I worked in business travel and finally settled at Holidaysplease (FHC).
I have travelled to every continent in the world but since having my little girl Ella, far flung and luxurious holidays are a thing of the past and my latest holiday 'must haves' were a giant swimming with crazy slides, a large buffet restaurant and short flight times - there's only so much Peppa Pig the rest of the plane can take!
I absolutely love my job and colleagues around me. It brings great satisfaction knowing that we're providing an award winning service which ultimately leads to people going on holiday. Who doesn't love going on holiday!!
I'm one of our Operations Managers which means I do a little bit of everything but my main focus is with recruitment and complaints which are strangely enough my favourite part of the job (I know it's strange!).
I've worked in travel for 10 years, I started off as an overseas rep before moving to retail and then I joined Holidaysplease in 2012.
I love everything travel related and love to visit new places. I recently got married out in Las Vegas (no Elvis unfortunately) and it was by far the craziest place I have ever visited but I loved every second, apart from the 11 hour flight with our 18 month old daughter Sienna.
I'm Russell, the Chief Technology Officer for Holidaysplease. As such it's my responsibility to design and develop the software systems that help keep Holidaysplease ahead of the competition, as well as making sure the existing systems keep running smoothly.
Before joining Holidaysplease I worked as a game programmer, and worked on versions of games such as Tomb Raider, The Sims, Need for Speed, and many others. You may even be able to use my name as a cheat code in one of them...
Outside of work I am the software and electronics engineer for the Electric Giraffe Project, a life-sized mechanical giraffe. The Giraffe is the mascot of the Bay Area Maker Faire, an annual event that sees over 100,000 visitors on a weekend, and was demonstrated at the White House to President Obama in 2014.