A holidays expert in a coastal town has scooped a prestigious national prize after wowing a panel of scrutinising judges.
Jo Shayler, of Frinton, is an independent travel whizz for Holidaysplease and operates from Great Danes’ outdoor area, in Connaught Avenue.
She has now been crowned UK & Ireland Travel Agent of the Year at the all-new Travel Industry Awards by TTG, which are hosted by industry bible the Travel Trade Gazette.
During a glitzy ceremony held at Magazine London, which was co-hosted by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, Jo was also named Home-Based Agent of the Year.
Speaking following her impressive win, shocked Jo revealed she was surprised but beyond proud to receive the accolade.
She said: “I’m simply stunned. I came to the awards in London flattered, a little overwhelmed, and mighty proud to have been nominated.
“To be crowned as winner was beyond my wildest dreams but to then receive a second totally unexpected award as Travel Agent of the Year is purely indescribable.
“As an avid Strictly Come Dancing fan, to be presented my trophies by Tess and Claudia was the icing on the cake.
“Huge thanks to all my special clients and industry associates that have helped me win these and to the good folk of Frinton for supporting my new local venture.”
According to the Travel Trade Gazette’s editor, Sophie Griffiths, the awards are the “toughest to win” in the sector due to the robust judging process.
For those lucky enough to come out on top, however, such as Jo, the prizes serve to celebrate professionals who put customers at the heart of their business.
A judges spokesman said: “Jo wowed the judging panel by how she'd faced the challenges of the last year head-on.
“She has also taken advantage of opportunities to grow closer to her clients - and to win new ones.
“Her personal skills and self-confidence have grown through her response to the pandemic, and she is a fantastic example to homeworkers and travel agents at large.”
Jo is based at Great Danes every Wednesday and later this month will also host An Evening In Mauritius event from the site.