Lesley Millar, Founded Jigsaw Travel 1998
How long have you worked in the Travel Industry?
I started my career in the travel industry back in 1991 (when there was no internet!!) working for British Airways. I left BA in 1998 to start Jigsaw Travel so went from being a very small cog in a really large wheel to suddenly having the responsibility of running my own business overnight. The training I received at BA was outstanding and was a great foundation for me to become a customer focussed business that has the client at the heart of everything we do.
What is a typical day like at Jigsaw Travel?
Oh how I wish there was such a thing as a ‘typical’ day at Jigsaw Travel. Every day is like venturing into the unknown. I absolutely love problem solving and troubleshooting so I am rarely fazed when a few curveballs are thrown at me. I am delighted and exceptionally proud to look after clients who have been with me for over a decade and we have built strong relationships based on trust, value and reliability. We also enjoy having a bit of fun along the way, I think a client can feel the energy we apply to all our travel bookings. Here at Jigsaw I wear every hat – from Reservations to HR, from Marketing to Finance and I enjoy both the variety and the challenges. On a typical day, I like to get up early, going to the gym before work doesn’t always happen but when it does I feel invigorated, energetic and full of vitality. A work/life balance is very important to me and I have learned to make spending time with my family a priority.
Where has been your favourite place to visit?
I have come a long way since my first ever holiday – A Club 18-30 in Magaluf! Travel is my real passion and I probably take far too many holidays…. but hey, jetting off allows me to make first hand recommendations to my clients. My life is pretty hectic so my favourite place to recharge my batteries is the Caribbean – the whole pace of life is stress free and relaxed the perfect chill out. I like a variety of holidays and once a year I go away for a crazy girl’s weekend with friends I’ve been fortunate to have known for over 20 years.
Think about if you won the lottery and money was no object where you would like to visit.
Well if money was no object, I would definitely need my own private jet. I would fill the aircraft with all my friends and family and head for somewhere completely different like Bora Bora. I have booked clients in the past who have stayed at luxury resorts with their own private chefs, butlers and concierge – I could definitely get used to that lifestyle.
What frustrates you about the travel industry?
The travel industry has changed so much since I launched Jigsaw Travel 20 years ago and technology has had a massive impact. Mostly this has been positive however there have been a few bogus online companies over the past few years and the trend is growing. Everyone wants good value for money but it’s essential that only accredited agents with ABTA membership and ATOL bonding are authorised to trade. A few years ago a friend of mine booked an ‘absolute bargain’ to Majorca – it was only a few weeks prior to departure when she hadn’t received her tickets that she realised that she could no longer access the website or contact the company she had booked with. Luckily she had paid by credit card so the Bank reimbursed her cost however she had to book a new holiday at almost double the price she had originally paid.
If you could travel with 5 companions (alive or dead) who would they be and why.
Elvis Presley – He’s been my musical hero since childhood
Princess Diana – I would love to hear how proud she is of her boys
Nelson Mandela – My ultimate role model
Michelle Obama – I read her book recently, she would make a fun, interesting companion
Peter Kay – Travelling should always be fun and I am sure we would share lots of laughs
What would you say the big benefits are of booking with Jigsaw Travel?
Oh where do I start!! Tailor-made travel at an internet price, 24 hour emergency assistance, unrivalled knowledge, special deals (even an occasional cheeky upgrade), we have the friendly human touch, industry contacts, we save you time, money and stress. I think that about sums us up.
Tell us something interesting about you that most people wouldn’t know
I am obsessed with having a positive Mind-set and genuinely believe that what you think about you bring about. I use this to program huge goals and it never ceases to amaze me when things manifest just as I want them to.