Tomorrow's Travel Leaders: 30 Under 30: Gareth Thomas
In collaboration with TTG Digital, the ITT and Guoman Hotels, C&M Travel Recruitment set out to discover the 30 most inspiring and dynamic people in the travel industry aged 30 years and younger - the 30 Under 30.
Here we profile Gareth Thomas, co-founder and director at Reserve Apartments.
Q: How does it feel to be in the final 30 of Tomorrow's Travel Leaders?
A: "It was a nice surprise. I am quite lucky in that I am one of those people who enjoy their job and feel that they are contributing something - most days anyway! I get to work with a fantastic team, and I am very lucky in that sense. But to get an email through saying that I was being listed as one of the top 30 under 30 for the industry was fantastic."
Q: Has the recognition had any impact on your career?
A: "I try to make sure that we have a really good name behind the company and that the reputation stands. I know that I am a representative of that - especially in terms of what the industry thinks about us - so it is nice to have something next to your name saying that someone else has given you some accreditation."
Q: What advice do you have for other young people looking to make their mark in the travel industry?
A: "I'm slightly different to a few of the other finalists in that I am perhaps more in the entrepreneur category, whereas I know that a lot of the others work for larger companies. My advice, which would be more aimed at the entrepreneurial-minded, is that it is possible to work in travel.
"From a lot of the younger people that I have spoken to, they think that travel is perhaps a bit of a dream job. It is an industry where you are actually helping people buy something that is going to be really great for them and people are put off perhaps by thinking that it is too closed off for those reasons, but there are opportunities - especially for young people, more so now than there ever have been.
"Also, for the entrepreneurial-minded, just start doing something. Start today. Even if you decide you are going to put together a package holiday for a friend of the family - doing one thing and getting paid somehow for that is the way to start. That's how I started and that is the easiest way, I think."
Q: What is it about working in the travel industry that people enjoy so much?
A: "For a start, I think that travel is a luxury item for people - even though many people would list it now as a necessity. It is nice to be able to help people with something that isn't just petrol or their weekly shop; it is something that they have saved up for and will really enjoy.
"With the area of travel that I work in, we get to help a lot of small businesses and small scale property investors, so we get to work with relatively like-minded people and help them to grow their property portfolio, and at the same time, provide a really good service to guests as well."
Q: Why did you want to get involved in the travel industry?
A: "I wanted to do web design and the only thing I knew anything about, in terms of being able to produce a website, was that my parents went camping and caravanning, so I created a site about that. I think I was quite lucky [in that] it was the time that the internet was in its early stages and there was a demand for what I was producing. I made some connections through that and it has led from there."