Interview with Nicky Woodhatch, Surrey-based independent travel agent

Imagine getting paid to do something you love. That’s exactly what Cranleigh, Surrey-based ndependent travel agent Nicky Woodhatch has managed to do with her business Globally Mine.

Why did you become a travel agent?

Up until July 2020 I was running a successful antenatal and baby class business, I had started it just before I had children, 15 years previously. I franchised the business in 2016 and we had grown to 25 franchisees around the UK. Sadly, when Covid hit our income, like thousands of other businesses stopped overnight. 

Although totally devastating I felt I was probably ready to step away from the pregnancy and baby world and move into something more grown-up, as my kids were now all at school.

I swore I would never work for myself again; I would get an “office job”, work 9-5 and take a regular income. That lasted just under two years, when the itch to start again grew too strong! 

I had always loved travel, I studied leisure and tourism at college and all my kids had been on a long-haul journey before their second birthday, so travel seemed to be the obvious route.

I had booked my holidays with a wonderful, independent travel agent and she had told me about the umbrella company she worked under having a franchise company – The Holiday Franchise Company. 

We were on holiday in the Dominican Republic over Christmas 2021 and the niggle grew strong. I contacted them when I returned in January, and a week later was signed up! I spent six months training, working on my website and getting ready to launch, which I did in July 2022.

What do you love best about being a travel agent? 

I genuinely get so excited when someone books, the fact that we have spent time looking for that perfect holiday, and once we find it and we hit the book button, it feels AMAZING. The only feeling that tops it is speaking to them when they come home and hearing all about it! 

What do you love least? 

I really don’t think there is a part I don’t enjoy. The part I find most frustrating is being ‘ghosted’ when I have worked on a quote, sent it over and then tumbleweed. Even if It is a “we have had the quote but not ready to book” or “we aren’t sure on this particular part” please reply to your travel agent, we really appreciate it!

Luckily it doesn’t happen often, but sadly does happen. I invest personally in every holiday, and to not hear back from a quote is frustrating, we really do care.

Best family holiday destination?

I am a total long-haul girl, I LOVE plane journeys, give me food in little compartments and a non-stop supply of gin all day! So, my favourite destination would have to be the St Lucia or Mauritius, I have yet to go to Thailand but Bali would be a close second or third.

What’s your top tip for travelling with kids?

Take a change of clothes when travelling. We always pack spare clothes for the kids/babies but never ourselves. I learnt this the hard way with a baby and vomit on a night flight back from St Lucia!  

What does a typical day look like? 

I work from home, so a typical day involves getting up and getting the kids to school, I usually then try and walk the dog on the way home. Once back around 9am I start on the admin for the day. Make sure I know which clients are due to fly in the next month and answer any queries from those clients. 

Some clients want me to check them in others are quite happy to do it themselves. Then around 10am I start calling back any enquiries that came in overnight or from the previous day and the phone starts to ring. 

As with anyone who works from home, in between this is usually a load of washing or sticking on the slow cooker for dinner! 

The phone will ring with clients with queries, or enquiries and if I have had customers recently return from travel they will be on my list to call to find out how the holiday went! 

I try and squeeze in a Peloton (love a bit of Bradley Rose) and then it’s time to grab the kids from school, come home, get dinner prepared. I usually then log back in until around 8pm for those customers who prefer chatting post work day.

Find out more about Globally Mine.