‘I took my first booking for more than a year and burst into tears’

By Steve Jones
Home » ‘I took my first booking for more than a year and burst into tears’

A homeworking travel agent who was forced to leave the industry during the COVID pandemic has told how she burst into tears after taking her first booking for more than a year.

As the industry welcomed the imminent end of COVID tests, Jenny Woods revealed on BBC radio how she was overcome with emotion at returning to the job she loves and securing her first sale.   

Jenny, a Travel Counsellor of eight years, appeared on Nicky Campbell’s Five Live  show to share her experiences as a travel agent.

She explained that on Monday, three weeks after returning to travel, she took her first booking for more than 12 months – a trip to Antigua – and promptly burst into tears.

“It’s been great to see a resurgence of travel,” Jenny told listeners. “I’ve been back at my desk for three weeks and yesterday I took my first new booking for over a year. It was amazing and very emotional. I burst into tears to be honest.

“It’s been really tough and we’ve had to hang in there. But we’re a tough breed travel agents, and we love what we do.”

Speaking later to Travel Gossip, Jenny said of her radio appearance: “To say my heart was beating fast is probably an understatement! I’ve never done anything like that before!”

The Suffolk-based consultant told how she was forced to mothball her business as COVID wreaked havoc across travel and the wider world.

While Travel Counsellors did an “amazing” job in supporting members, Jenny said she had no choice but to look elsewhere for work.

After joining the track and trace program, she worked as a housekeeper for holiday cottages before joining another lettings firm in an account management role.

But the pull of travel, and of being a travel agent, proved too strong.

“On New Years’ Eve I made the decision to restart my business,” Jenny said. “I had no idea things would suddenly kick off, although in my head I thought maybe it would pick up in the spring.

“But I was determined to get back into travel, I absolutely love it and decided to throw myself back in 100%. “

The breakthrough booking was for a client making a third attempt to travel to Antigua for a wedding that had twice been cancelled.

“I was on the phone taking the deposit and the client’s partner was asking how much to upgrade to a bay view room. It was quite a bit more expensive but they said, ‘let’s do it, we’ve had enough of COVID, let’s just book it’!

“It was very emotional. For me this booking was just so significant and I burst into tears. It signalled the start of something more positive.”

Jenny added: “Travel agents are a tough breed and have survived so many events. It shows how resilient we are and how much we love our job.

“Travel draws you back in. It’s about the people you meet over the years, the people I’ve worked with, the places I’ve been, the experiences. It’s a fun job.”

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