Jen and Darran found Holidaysplease online and placed a honeymoon enquiry with me back in 2014. They were a pleasure to work with from the word go. Intrepid foodies with an appetite for a bit of adventure, they duly booked a fabulous New York and Antigua combo, and I was thrilled that they had the time of their lives.
I've been fortunate enough to be entrusted with their more complex ventures ever since, with destinations including Thailand, Canada, the US and now Japan.
I promise that it wasn’t a condition of being a prize winner (though that may have helped) but I was really keen to get guest feedback on my virtual event and they kindly agreed to face the Shayler interrogation.
Jo: How did you hear about the event?
Jen: I heard about the event through one of your emails and saw it again on your newsletter and social media. I mentioned it to Darran and he agreed to join me.
Jo: What were you expecting?
Jen: To be honest, I had no idea at all what to expect. I was a bit apprehensive that it would be a bit of a hard sell, timeshare type thing. I had no idea how long it would be or what would be involved.
Darran: I was very keen to learn more about Japan and I expected to be more informed by the end of it.
Jo: Did you anticipate receiving a goody bag in the post? Was it a pleasant surprise?
Jen: I certainly wasn't expecting a goody bag and was so excited to get it. Darran had to keep it hidden away so I didn't open it before the event. I do love a goody bag!
Darran: The goody bag did get me more excited about the event. It contained some delicious Japanese rice cakes, green tea, a great origami bird to be completed during the event, an authentic recipe card and lots of helpful information.
Jo: How was it to finally meet face to face after all these years?
Jen: It was amazing to finally meet you, do a Zoom wave and get to say hello. I can't believe that we'd not actually met before.
Jo: How did you find the presentation and what was your favourite part?
Jen: The presentation had a huge impact. I've always wanted to visit Japan but have been worried about the food aspect. I'm allergic to fish so thought I would struggle to find anything to eat. I was also worried about the language barrier as Japanese is nothing like any other language I've studied before. This presentation totally put my mind at ease. Matt really knows his stuff and everything about the available trips appears well thought out and pieced together. By the end of the presentation, I wanted to pack my bags and jump on the first plane to Japan.
Darran: Probably like many, Japan has been on my bucket list for a long time, but I have always felt unsure about the vast cultural differences. I was particularly worried about just how different the food would be. The presentation was reassuring and made me feel far more confident about visiting and embracing the wonderful culture and the beauty of the landscape. The presentation was very informative but still relaxed and extremely enjoyable.
Jo: Did you make the Japanese green tea?
Jen: Yes, I did, and it was lovely. I drank it during the second half of the presentation.
Darran: Not for me, I’m afraid.
Jo: What was the question asked which enabled you to win the bottle of Japanese gin?
Jen: How many active volcanoes are there in Japan? Answer was 110, I said 113. I was a bit keen and didn't even confer with Darran! I don't even like gin but it is beautifully presented.
Jo: Did you find yourself inspired to visit Japan after this experience and if so when would be your preferred time of year to go?
Darran: Definitely. I would prefer to go during the autumn months. Japan just looks incredibly beautiful in autumn.
Jen: Definitely. I really don't mind when as long as I get there. But yes, I think I'd also prefer to visit in autumn. We will be asking you to put together an itinerary for us soon.
Jo: Was the event a worthwhile investment of your time and would you consider attending another one?
Jen: Unquestionably yes to both. We both found it incredibly informative, inspirational, well put together and thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you for having us.