The Globe Travel Awards are taking place in front of more than 1,200 guest at London’s Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane, with a star-studded line-up.
Awards were based on tens of thousands of votes from frontline travel agents, who recognised the suppliers that had done the most to support them during the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Best Long-Haul Airline and Best Premium Airline Service: Emirates
Head of commercial and national sales Jon Sheppard said: “We’re absolutely delighted to win these awards after a difficult few years for the industry.
“We’ve tried to remain consistent with the quality of our product. And we’ve tried to rebuild confidence with a flexible booking policy and Covid medical insurance and I’m sure both these things will have contributed to our wins.”
Best Flight-Only Provider: Jetset
Product executive Chloe Smyth said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to win this award. We’re trade-only and so it is brilliant to be voted for by Travel Weekly readers.
“We’ve stuck by our agents and we really appreciate all their support over the past 12 months.”
Best Long-Haul Operator: Gold Medal
Managing director Simon Applebaum said: “We’re honoured to have won after a really difficult two years.
“We’ve tried really hard to look after travel agents during the pandemic and to put them at the heart of our decision-making. This award is a great way to kick off 2022.”
Best Technology Provider: Traveltek
Cressida Sergeant, chief commercial officer, said the award was down to the hard work Traveltek has put in supporting trade partners over the past three years.
“It’s recognition that we have supported the trade through unprecedented times,” she said.
“It’s with a great deal of pride that we pick this award up and it makes all the hard work worth the effort.”
Best Insurance Provider: Holiday Extras
Adam Edinburgh, head of partnerships, said: “It’s 13 years in a row for us but we never take this award for granted. We thank the agents for putting their trust in us.
“This award is dedicated to our managing director Howard Dove.”
Best UK Holidays Operator: Great Little Breaks
Chris Cundall, director of trade relations, said: “It’s hard to explain how we all feel. We’ve only been in the industry for a number of years working with the trade and we have tried to replace what Super Break did and the agent support is what we want to do, we’ve worked so hard to do it.
“I’ve worked in the industry for 25 years and I can’t explain to you what this means.”
Best Operator for Activities: Inghams
Head of agency sales Julie Franklin said: “This just means absolutely everything. The fact that the agents have voted for us, have confidence in us, just everything about the agents we’re passionate about, we’re 100% behind the agents and this just means the world, it’s amazing.”
Best Luxury Operator: If Only
Gemma Pinder-Davidson, head of sales, said: “Gordon said he’d give me a piggyback to the stage if we won but it didn’t happen in the end, and that’s probably for the best as it’s been a long evening!
“In all seriousness, we’re absolutely blown away by this. The last two years have been horrific but we’ve worked so hard to support our staff and agents throughout, and made sure we’ve always been there for them, and this award makes it all worthwhile.
“While some other operators have battened down the hatches over the past two years, we’ve been consistent in what we’ve done and we’re so delighted with the outcome.”
Best UK Airport: Heathrow
Dwayne Black, terminal manager at Heathrow Terminal 2, said: “It feels really amazing, we weren’t expecting it at all. After the struggles of the past two years, this feels so rewarding and we’re just delighted that the effort has paid off.
“It’s been such a collaborative effort from the whole team and everyone has pitched in to make this happen. We’re looking forward to taking this trophy back to the team and adding it to our trophy cabinet!”
Best Accommodation-Only Provider: Bedsonline
Rebecca Brett, retail director Europe, said: “We are really pleased with this award. It’s voted for by agents and we are trade-only so it’s fantastic to get recognition for the work we have put in over the last two years.
“It means the world to us.”
Best Short Haul Airline: Jet2.com and Best Short-Haul Operator, Best Trade-Friendly Brand, Best Trade Sales Team: Jet2holidays
Lloyd Cross, general manager, said: “We never take awards for granted and we always appreciate it.
“It’s great to be recognised by our trade partners. Travel agents have kept driving us and it’s great to know we are doing right by our travel partners.
“We work tirelessly hard as a team to support the trade, so it means a huge amount to be voted for these Serving the Industry awards. We appreciate the votes and we will continue to support agents going forward.
“We have seen confidence continue to grow among consumers and believe that with the marketing and training we have put in with the trade that support will continue to grow.”
Best Adventure Operator: G Adventures
Stu Darnley, national sales manager, said: “We did everything we could to support the trade in the last two years and to know we have delivered on that is so rewarding.
“Thank you to the trade for voting us.”
Best mainstream touring company: Newmarket Holidays
David Sharman, chief commercial officer, said: “I could not be prouder of this team. For a company this size to win is an amazing achievement.
“I am speechless and so thankful to the trade.”
Best Rail Company: Rocky Mountaineer
Steven Harris, director of sales, said: “It’s a massive honour to win after everything we have been through in the last two years.
“We want to thank all our UK trade partners. We are so grateful for your support.”
Best Premium Touring Company: Wendy Wu Tours
Founder Wendy Wu said: “It feels fantastic. I feel very proud. It’s a very special award.
“After two years it’s so wonderful to see all the agents and the travel community – it’s so bubbly and the buzz is amazing.”
Best Car Rental Company: Flexible Autos
Sales director Chantal Tomlinson said: “It feels amazing to win, especially after the last couple of years.
“We want to thank the whole team at flexible autos and all the agents for their continued support. We’re so pleased.”
Best River Cruise Company: Riviera Travel
Tom Morgan, head of agency sales, said: “It’s two years of hard work and we didn’t furlough the agency sales team we kept working, supporting agent partners, I think it’s testament to that over the last two years the dedication and the hard effort had paid dividends tonight”
Stuart Milan, channel director, said: “Absolutely elated – I can’t believe it.”
Best luxury cruise company: Silversea
Peter Shanks, managing director, said: “It’s really cool to win for two reasons – one the amazing crew and officers on our ships, this is really what they do, and secondly our travel agent partners who vote for us – awesome. that’s why we come to work every day to look after our guests, make sure our crew are doing the right job on our ships and support our travel agents.
“I think this is at least the 15th year in a row and it gets tougher every year. The world is moving on and we have some fantastic competitors but to keep winning it every year is great.”
Best Ferry Company: P&O Ferries
Danielle Wharrad, head of tourist partnership sales, said: “Absolutely delighted – it’s been such a challenging 24 months but we’ve supported the trade.
“We’ve operated the whole way through with people going backwards and forwards across the channel. I can’t tell you how delighted I am and thank you to everybody who voted for us.”
Best all inclusive resort operator – Ikos and Sani
UK boss Lee Barker said: “We never in a million years thought we’d win. We hoped but we never actually thought it would happen. It’s an affirmation we set ourselves when we set up the UK office and thanks to the support of our trade partners, who have backed us entirely, we’re here.
“I’m in shock and I’m so, so happy. A massive thank you to all the agents who have been on this journey with us, launching the UK office during the backdrop of the pandemic. Our success is thanks to them.”
Best mainstream cruise company: Royal Caribbean International
Torey Kings-Hodkin, head of sales, said: “It has been a long time coming. But it’s so exciting to be back together. It feels sweeter than ever before because of the last two years.”
Stuart Byron, director of sales, said: “We’ve tried hard to be a good partner throughout Covid, with schemes like RCL Cares, protected commission and focus on refunds. We’d like to thank the trade for their continued support.”
Best luxury cruise company: Celebrity Cruises
Claire Stirrup, director of sales, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won this. A massive thank you to everyone who voted for us. Thank you on behalf of the crew and the team.”
Jo Rzymowska, vice president and managing director, EMEA, said: “We never take this for granted – ever! It’s so important that we continue to support our agent partners. We’re grateful for their recognition. This year means more than ever because of what we’ve been through.”
Best specialist cruise company: Hurtigruten
Anthony Daniels, UK and EMEA general manager, said: “This is a testimony to our work. And the way the trade has supported us and vice versa. We’ve walked away with two awards tonight. We’re so proud.”
Mark Walter, head of sales, said: “We gave the trade a lot of support. We were there in the tough times. It has been tough. We were able to work on those relationships that we had built over the years. We now just have to kick on.”
Best Tourist Board: Barbados Tourism Marketing
Marc McCollin, senior business development officer, said: “It’s amazing to win. The last two years have been, to say the least, trying. But we have kept working with our partners, kept supporting the trade and it’s just so rewarding to see that all the work we have put in has come to fruition.
“Our sales for winter are incredible, so it has paid off. This is the first major award we have won for quite some time after Covid so it’s absolutely amazing.”
Best Hotel Chain: Palladium Hotels
Rafael Rubi, sales and marketing director UK, said: “The UK market is the most important market in Europe and one of the most important in the world. This is the most special award to win.
“We are working very closely with travel agencies, especially in the UK and we are very focused on remaining on people here in the UK who are more than partners, they are friends.”