Julia & Becky’s dream of opening and owning their own travel agents became a reality in 2017. However their story started years before…
Julia had worked in the travel industry since she left school, starting with Lunn Poly as an apprentice. Becky started her travel career much later in 1999 when she went to work for Travel Choice. This was where the girls met. They quickly became firm friends and both went on to gain promotion within First Choice - Julia a branch manager of two shops, and Becky as a regional sales manager. Both working in the same area they remained remained close, supporting each other through life’s journey of having children, career moves and everyday life - so they often called on each other for support.
Julia went on to run and lead Humberside Airport Travel where she gained valuable knowledge in managing and running an independent travel agency. Becky left the travel industry for a time to work in local internet marketing for a 4 year period and gained marketing skills that would prove invaluable later down the line.
In 2014 Becky’s husband was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer and passed away in 2015. Obviously this was a life-changing event and whilst Becky was making decisions for her and her young daughter, she decided travel was what made her happy. Becky went back again to join Julia and work part-time for Humberside Airport Travel as a sales consultant.
For many years they had talked about having their own agency and how they would love to recreate an agency where the team was built on friendship, knowledge and customer service.
Julia had a great working relationship with Andrew Earle - one of the travel industries leading travel agents across in Hull. It was Andrew who helped them realise that opening an independent agency was possible with the right team and proposition.
The three of them met for a coffee in February 2017 and HBD was born. They found premises, registered the business and signed commercial agreements in less than a month! It was Julia’s idea that Cleethorpes would be the chosen location, as it’s where her career in travel started. She knew the area well and felt there was a lack of independent agents in Cleethorpes.
Holidays By Design opened its doors on St. Peters Avenue, Cleethorpes after a 5 week refit in June 2017. The girls spent evenings planning what the shop would look like, colour schemes and uniform but the most important thing was getting the correct team. They needed the best team to open on the high street. As Becky and Julia had worked with many consultants during their travel career, finding the perfect team was easy. The team would fundamentally become the HBD brand and the brand would be all about customer service and providing people with a choice of holiday options, with the best possible customer service and helping customers through the journey of booking and giving sound advice based on what they needed.
Since the doors of HBD opened the business has become a huge success. The team has grown to 9 members of staff who all have invaluable travel experience but fundamentally are all passionate about holidays and giving excellent customer service. The ethos of HBD has been the catalyst of its success - a shop where people feel welcome, a shop where the team are happy and looked after, and where the customers along with the team are the most important ingredient to its success.
Becky and Julia believe in the shop being closed on Sundays so the team always have a day with their own families. HBD treats the girls to something together on a regular basis as a thank you for their hard work. HBD also supports local charities with donations as a thank you for the support from the local community.
Holidays By Design makes both girls so proud, it has been more successful than they could have ever imagined, winning regional travel awards and being recognised within the travel industry for its huge success as a new agency.
The core values of HBD will never change, providing a fun and friendly atmosphere for people to book their travel plans by a helpful well-informed team, who really do care about their customers.