Name: Paul Smith
Business: World of Transport Travel
Tell us about your business?
My late parents started the family-run travel agency back in 1983, when I joined straight from school. When they passed away, I took over as the owner and have been running it for the past ten years.
I offer bespoke travel arrangements worldwide, both for leisure & corporate travellers alike, & can arrange as little or as much as is required, from flights, accommodation, tours & excursions, transfers on arrival/departure, & if required private transfers to/from your home/place of work. Private tour guides, airport lounge access, international rail travel & much more besides can be offered.
Although based in West London, I have clients all over the UK & can assist anyone, wherever they are based, including overseas.
Should you need visas for a particular country, or assistance with UK passports, please ask for help.
Group travel (normally ten or more people travelling together) enquiries are welcomed.
When it comes to corporate travel, I offer a bespoke service to my clients, based on their needs. Aside from the services already mentioned, I can arrange meeting & conference facilities worldwide. My existing database ranges from one-person businesses & upwards.
What have been your greatest successes?
Having been in the travel industry now for over thirty years, being a part of a family concern that has continued to trade for so long, is a success in itself.
Yes, we have had to adapt, but offering a personal service, with someone to talk to at the end of the line, can be very reassuring to many people.
My company has been the proud winner of Mystery Shopper & Small Business Awards, which really makes me very proud.
What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I was born with cerebral palsy & my parents were told I would never walk. They refused to accept this & sought guidance elsewhere.
Thanks to them & the amazing people at the Bobath Centre, who taught me to roll, crawl & eventually to walk, I now lead as normal a life as can be possible.
Sure, I’m a bit padded around the middle, have a wicked sense of humour, but life is too short to sit and you need to live a little.
It took me many years to be comfortable with myself, & now that I am, I’m a better person for it.
What advice would you give to other small businesses in appealing to the LGBT+ community?
Listen to your client’s needs & wishes. Never assume or judge them. In my business I’m always asking if my client’s require one or two beds. Not because I’m judging them, but simply because of their needs.
Never judge a book by its cover. Learn to adapt to people’s needs & where possible interact with them on a human level.
Everyone is entitled to their way of life & once you have understood this, you are good to go out there & assist.
One last thing, you’ll never stop learning, no matter how much you think you know.