Travel can be a tumultuous industry, and no one understands that better than those who have started their own travel business. One of these people is Gavin Lapidus, Company Director at eShores, a luxury travel company focusing on tailor-made and multi-centre holidays worldwide.
Despite the ups and downs of the last few years, eShores is celebrating success – and its 15th year in business this month. We spoke with Gavin about what he’s learned over the past fifteen years of running an independent luxury travel business.
How did eShores begin?
“When I decided I wanted to start my own business, I instantly looked to my passion – travel. I began speaking to a friend of mine who was already in the industry; her background was in marketing. After discussing ideas, we quickly realised that we wanted to approach the luxury side of travel.
“We launched fifteen years ago from her back bedroom and have grown steadily since then. Over the years, we’ve gradually focused more on tailor-made luxury travel. As a business, we want to show our years of travel expertise and help really perfect holidays for our clients.”
Are there any travel trends you’ve noticed recently?
“Of course, most current travel trends are related to COVID. We’re noticing numbers drifting back to Asia, as many people haven’t been able to travel there throughout the pandemic so they are keen to return. America is also huge now – we noticed booking numbers there return to pre-COVID very quickly.
“Many locations in Thailand have been closed down due to over-tourism in the last few years. The pandemic gave the local areas and wildlife a chance to recover, so recently we’re seeing these locations open back up to great popularity.
“We have noticed some worries about crossing multiple borders when travelling, but people still want to get the most they can from their trip and see as many destinations as possible. This means we’re seeing a rise in European multi-centre trips, with people booking countries such as Greece or Italy and then exploring multiple destinations within that country.
“We’ve also seen a big rise in last-minute bookings. Many people are now booking for the next three to four months instead of the six, twelve or even eighteen months ahead that we’re used to seeing. People have been waiting to get back to travel, and there’s a real hunger and excitement around holidays right now.”
Are there any significant changes within the luxury travel industry that you notice today compared to when you started fifteen years ago?
“Clients want much more from their holidays. Fifteen years ago, many people would pick up a brochure, find a hotel they liked the look of, and that was as far as their own research went. Today, most people have access to the internet and social media, which means they can see everything a country has to offer. This means they want to get as much out of their trip as possible; they want to explore, stop in other locations, and see many different aspects of an area. Even on typical, relaxing beach holidays, we’re finding people want to pack in experiences too.
“Luxury travel today is all about ticking as many things off bucket lists as possible. People are thinking, ‘Why settle for fourteen days on a beach when there’s so much more to see and do?’”
What advice do you have for anyone looking to start their own business?
“If you really want to do it, just do it.
Wanting to do it is key, though – you need the right mentality, and you need to be in it for the long haul. This includes all the ups and downs, being versatile in your business, and being flexible when challenges come your way. However, if you have an idea that you believe in and are dedicated to seeing it though, you can make it succeed.”
You can read the full interview with Gavin Lapidus on the eShores blog.