An early love of travel led Lauren Howard into the industry at just 19 years of age. Since then, she has worked in travel agencies in Sydney and Port Macquarie, and opened itravel Port Macquarie just over two years ago.
Lauren says she hasn’t looked back and loves every day. “My job is so much fun. I have amazing clients who come in and we design their dream holidays together. I also love welcoming them home and hearing all about their adventures and journeys.”
Seeing her clients’ photos and reviews of their travels brightens Lauren’s day. Her biggest challenge is the internet. “Many of our clients don’t realise it is the same price whether you book online or with an agent. So why would you not book with an experienced professional? We are qualified, experienced and have hands-on knowledge – we know because we go.”
And she certainly has been to quite a few places! Lauren has a long list of travel destinations visited, including Canada and Alaska, Greece, the UK, Thailand, Hawaii, river cruising in Europe, Vietnam and China, USA, Bali, Hong King, Singapore and all over Australia.
Lauren’s favourite destination is Italy’s Cinque Terra. “I love the food. Could you think of anything better than having gelato, limoncello and pasta in one day with gorgeous scenery all around!”
Over her 25 years in travel, Lauren’s career has involved ongoing training, including a Certificate IV in Travel and Tourism, Sabre, SAM, Crosscheck Travel, Galileo, Insurance and much more. “Training is a constant in our industry and ensures we create dream holidays for our clients and provide the best service possible.”
Lauren is General Manager of the itravel Franchise Store she owns, located in the heart of the CBD of Port Macquarie, in the Garrison Building.
“I believe to be your best in the business environment you need to be passionate, dedicated, consistent and resilient. Passion drives you to wake up every day to do what you love. Dedication is needed for those rainy days when you would rather stay in bed, but know you want to help build someone’s dream holiday. Consistency is key to providing 110% effort. Resilience is essential in times of trial, so you can conquer and succeed.”
Lauren loves the local community in Port Macquarie, where she has lived for 15 years after moving from Northern Sydney. “I am proud to be a Rotarian member in our community and thoroughly enjoy all that Rotary gives back to our local area.”
When she’s not travelling to check out all the latest tourist hot-spots, Lauren’s two daughters keep her busy – Face-timing with the eldest in America and driving around to sporting commitments with her youngest.
6am: Wake up and walk the dog. Check world news to make sure nothing has happened overnight that may affect travelling clients.
8am: Organise family, drop at school or bus, get to the office. Check emails and all flight schedules from airlines for passengers, to ensure there are no changes.
9am: Office open; day really starts to be fun. Every day is different. Client appointments, travel planning, taking payments, reviewing documentation, talking with clients after they have come home from their fabulous holiday!
1pm: Try to have a break for a bite to eat
2pm: Bookings and quotes on our customers’ holidays from flights, accommodation, tours, cruises, transfers.
5pm: Office closes, and I race to arrange dinner, pick up children from sports or other school/work events.
7pm: Family sits down for dinner together and talks about our day, and then time to relax.
10pm: Sleep and dream of my next holiday destination!