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INTERVIEW: LIAM WHOLEY
Kipp speaks to CEO of The Travel Attaché, Liam Wholey, to find out more about UAE's new luxury travel agent.
December 18, 2012 10:27 by Eva Fernandes
What is The Travel Attaché?
The Travel Attaché is a bespoke luxury travel agent and tour operator based in Dubai – we specialize in seamless, high-service leisure travel for people who are looking for a phenomenal holiday experience. We take away all the work, research and headache from the customer and add our expertise and first-hand knowledge delivering perfectly-tailored options at exceptional rates.
How is The Travel Attaché different from other travel agencies?
At TheTravel Attaché we are not reinventing the wheel – however we believe are unique in Dubai in terms of the level of product, service, knowledge and expertisethat we bring to our customers. The key differentiator for The Travel Attaché is the Exclusive Experiences section of the site where we offer highly personalized escapes from playing golf with a past champion to a 48 hour adrenalin-filled lightening tour of the best that Kenya has to offer by helicopter or taking on a mission adventure organized by ex special forces personnel. All of these Experiences can be fitted to the exact requirements of the customer and we are here to be challenged – our customers can ask us for any Experience and we will work to put it together for them.
How has The Travel Attaché been received since it set up shop a month ago?
We have had a tremendous start to the business – on our second day of business we booked a trip that exceeded our first month’s budget and we have booked many wonderful holidays since that day – business is great and we are determined to ensure that this happy state of affairs continues. We know that every customer must come back happy as word of mouth is vital – we have already had referrals, which is massively satisfying.
Why choose to start operations in Dubai?
There are a number of reasons – all of which made Dubai the obvious choice. From a network point of view – I have been in Dubai for nearly 4 years and am well-networked and our investors are too, there was a clear gap in the market for a business such as The Travel Attaché whereas the UK has a number of well run high-endtravel companies and competition is fierce. I believe that Dubai is well-placed at the moment from an economic stand point – certainly when compared with the UK and Europe. We feel confident in the stability of the appetite for luxury travel from the UAE, in fact we expect to see demand from this region for bespoke travel services such as The Travel Attaché provides to grow significantly over the coming years.
We are looking to open further offices in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and India within the next 4 years.
Which destinations have been the most popular among customers of The Travel Attaché?
As we have only been open for 5 weeks it is difficult to see any patterns as it is very much influenced by the season we are in – however, thus far we have seen great appetite for the warmer destinations of the Maldives, Kenya, Vietnam and Malaysia as well as huge demand for European skiing destinations such as Verbier, Zermatt, Lech and so forth. We have also had a lot of enquiries about some of the emerging destinations such as Bhutan and the Philippines – both destinations that we expect to grow in demand in 2013.
What are the top 3 tips you would give to somebody planning an exclusive holiday this holiday season?
1- Book as far in advance as you can to avoid disappointment – this will ensure that you get the best rates and first pick of the best accommodation. The top hotels, villas and chalets, understandably, get booked up very early – especially in peak holiday season.
2- Speak to an expert like The Travel Attaché to ensure that you get the best advice, the best price and that the experience is smooth and seamless.
3- Get expert advice on what to do – the team at The Travel Attaché can help you to make the most of your holiday budget by using their vast knowledge of destinations, seasons, flight routes and timings and also accommodation types – with the right guidance it is possible to get much more out of your holiday whilst maintaining the luxury standard of the experience.