When Karen decided to celebrate a milestone birthday in style, it wasn’t long before the idea cropped up to go on holiday with her hubby Jim.

And what better than a twin-centre holiday to Dubai and the Maldives to experience glamour, high-life and chill-out beach time?

The holiday provided not only a well-earned break to toast half a century, but also gave a valuable insight into two destinations and sales tips for the agency’s eight shop staff and 45 homeworkers.

“I always write about my holidays – and I did six pages on Dubai! It’s a humorous insight and brings the holiday to life for staff, describing the accommodation, the country and places to tell clients to go to,” says Karen.

Her blog on Dubai describes everything from the food on offer, “from sushi to porridge, from a cooked breakfast to an Arabian special”, to a memorable water ride when “the lazy river turned into a raging torrent”.

With the United Arab Emirates already making up a significant chunk of Designer Travel’s sales, at least 5%, it was important for Karen to give her sellers some valuable tips she picked up on her travels.

“The hotels in Dubai are all resorts so the temptation is not to go out of them, but you should. There are places you should go, like the Karama market and the gold souks, don’t just stay in resort,” says Karen, who recommends the Dubai Metro as a cheap and efficient way to travel round the city.

Karen predicts Dubai will have an impact on the European market. “I don’t think the bubble has burst and it’s easy to sell as a repeat destination,” she adds.

Writing blog posts about fam trips or holidays are an essential part of ensuring her staff are up to date on product knowledge, says Karen. “It’s about sharing information. Our staff write blogs and fam trips also allow them to see a lot more. We keep a strict rota and allocate fam trips fairly.”

The result? Staff are kept up to date on destinations, with lots of valuable advice, and retention rates are high.

As for Karen, she’s still riding high after a holiday she’ll never forget.