Marlborough travel agency opened in lockdown named the best in the South West

A Wiltshire travel agency has been named the best in the South West by industry bible, Travel Trade Gazette (TTG). Travel by Hannah in Marlborough was named the best agency in the South West as part of the Top 50 TTG Travel Agencies 2022: an annual list of the best agents in the country.

Travel by Hannah, located on Marlborough’s high street, opened in December 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Owner Hannah Porter says many questioned the decision to start a travel company at that time, “I don’t blame them!” Hannah said. “I had worked in travel for several years and was working for a freelance agency for several years when the pandemic hit.”

The agency she worked for at the time had decided to close in part due to the uncertainty of the pandemic and so she found herself out of a job, prompting her to think about starting her own business. . “I thought it was really bad timing, but it could be really good timing if all goes well, which covered my bets at the time,” Hannah told WiltshireLive.

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“I thought okay if I’m going to go, I should go now. They tell you when you start a business to be prepared to lose for your first year and I thought okay if I start then, it can surely’ it’s not going to get worse!” The risk paid off and Hannah says the business had a fantastic first year, despite a few terrible months during the lockdowns when no one could travel.

Hannah didn’t feel too discouraged about starting the business as her family has businesses and she says it’s a natural way of life for her. However, she says she was worried about how the travel industry would weather the pandemic. “I thought to myself at the time, I was 25 and I was like look, I want to do this for the rest of my life. I have to make this work or it’s going to go wrong over the course of two first three years or it will go really well and it will be there for twenty thirty years”.

The TTG Top 50 ceremony took place at The Vox in Birmingham, attended by nearly 450 of the UK’s and Ireland’s top travel agents and supplier partners. Hannah said she still doesn’t know who nominated the agency for the award, but was “really overwhelmed” when she found out they won best agency in the South West and Top 20 from all over the UK.

Hannah Porter receives South West’s Best Travel Agency award for Travel with Hannah

She said: “I knew we had been shortlisted for the top five but to be announced as the winner I had instant tears, I was like ‘Oh my God’. It’s so nice to to be recognized for the hard work you put into something when I work a lot of hours a day.

“People don’t realize you work in the travel business – we have people traveling all the time and you need to be available for anything unpredictable.”

Pippa Jacks, Managing Editor of TTG Group, said: “Travel agents have weathered the toughest two years in the history of the industry, but offering expert advice and customer support throughout. Throughout the pandemic, our top 50 winners have all won new customers and are looking to a bright future.”

Commenting on Travel by Hannah’s win, the judges said, “Hannah and her team have the perfect blend of experience, expertise and dedication required to be able to provide exceptional service to their customers. Getting out into the local community and proactively promoting more sustainable travel options also helped this passionate team stand out this year. A very worthy winner.

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Willie R. Golden