Elle’s Week of Work Experience at Hays Travel

Ellie Lemon has this week been undertaking work experience at the Hays Travel marketing department.

Ellie Lemon, a student at Monkwearmouth Academy, has this week been undertaking work experience in Hays Travel’s marketing department.

My name is Elle and I’m about to go into my final year at Monkwearmouth Academy. This week, I’m doing my work experience in the marketing department at Hays Travel and have written this blog to tell you about my time so far.

On my first day at the Hays Travel office, I worked with Jayne. She showed me how to use Feefo, a rating and review system, for responding to positive and negative feedback from customers. She then taught me how to process gift vouchers, as well as which programs the team uses to keep track of everything that goes on in the company.

Later in the day, I helped sort the company post before taking a tour of the other office buildings, training centre, and shop.  I was surprised at how big the departments are and how large Hays Travel is as a company. During my first day, I managed to speak with everyone who works in the marketing department. Thankfully, they were are all lovely and made me feel really welcome! I even got to meet Sam, the office dog, who belongs to the managing director, John Hays.

On Tuesday morning, I started the day working with Rob, who is a marketing analyst. Rob showed me all the things he does, which includes looking at financial data and checking how close the company is to meeting its daily targets. He told me about all the tasks he has to complete, along with the many systems he uses.

In the afternoon I sat with Gemma, who showed me how to source and put together the deals you see in shop windows. I enjoyed looking at all the different hotels and seeing when certain flights are cheaper depending on date, time and destination.  It was also interesting to see how posters are created and how to choose the best information to display on them.

On Wednesday, I worked with Charlotte, who does lots of things relating to the company’s social media! I looked through the Hays Travel Facebook page and made a note of the different things they post; including what themes are most popular among their audiences.

Afterwards, Charlotte gave me the document she uses to plan content on a weekly basis. I used pictures and offers from the website to come up with different ideas to go on the Hays Travel Facebook page. Charlotte then checked through my work and helped me find some good deals, before showing me how she schedules uploads. I also learnt about choosing the best time to post content, which I’d never considered important before! To finish off, I looked at different images Charlotte could download to use for future updates.

On Thursday morning, I learnt about all the tasks that Helen, the group marketing manager, is responsible for. I was asked to help out by checking some more Feefo reviews, which I managed without Jayne’s help this time. Once I’d finished, I was lucky enough to visit the finance department where I spoke to Dan, an accountant. He went through the basics of accountancy and the qualities you need to break into the industry. I found this particularly interesting, as I’m considering a career in accountancy and was grateful for the insight.

In the afternoon, I created this blog post with some help from Adam, the content manager. Adam’s in charge of all written content from Hays Travel, and it was interesting to see the different topics the copywriting team post on the company blog.

So far, I’ve learned a lot about marketing and the travel industry in general, and am looking forward to what my final day at Hays Travel will bring …

Why is the Belgian Circuit Part of Grand Prix Royalty?

Even the most unaware of us know that Formula One racing takes place on a huge amount of champagne-drenched circuits across the globe. Google “favourite Grand Prix courses” and you’ll find that Belgium’s Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is consistently top of anyone’s list, from amateur blogger to expert reviewer.

But why? We’ve taken a look at this world-famous track to guess why fans and drivers alike love the circuit and its home country.


The first hairpin turn of the race is an infamously sharp one, making it a breathtaking sight to witness and a heart-stopping one to hear. After taking the corner, the drivers speed down the bank at a tremendous rate. The vertical and lateral g-forces at play when the car reaches the bottom of the hill and zooms through the weaving Eau Rouge section must be as exhilarating to watch as they are to manoeuvre. Throughout the circuit, the cars meet a host of further high-speed corners such as Rivage and Blanchimont, as well as plenty of slower ones including Malmedy and Les Combes. Slower paced maybe, but they still demand absolute precision to accomplish without catastrophe. This perfect blend of Spa-Francorchamps’ twists and turns is surely a mighty contributor of the circuit’s fame.


Perhaps the auto-adoring audience love the ‘calm vs. contest’ contrast that dominates the area during the race? This circuit is found in the peaceful forests outside Francorchamps, where serenity, nature and relaxing ambles reign supreme. But the lush terrain comes alive for Grand Prix. The clamour of excited fans and buzz of competitive drivers transform the land into a hub of hysteria that would look completely out of place from a bird’s-eye-view. Seeing a place reach the level of frenzied excitement that only a global sporting tournament can achieve amid such untapped tranquillity must be quite the experience.

The Belgian way

As if it needs saying, surely the host itself plays a part in its course’s stardom. Belgium has been a popular city-break destination for decades and continues to attract tourists to this day. Found in northern Europe, Belgium is flanked by distinguished countries and claims a short but crucial coastline on the North Sea. This country has a unique culture of traditional values sprinkled with a unique mix of Dutch, French and German influences. Modern and traditional arts are hugely appreciated in Belgium, and you can enjoy a variety of art and history museums, century-old architecture, and local Belgian festivals during your stay.

Top-notch catering

Chocolate and lager instantly spring to mind when you think of Belgian culinary delights, but it’s also renowned for both its waffles and French fries with mayonnaise. Of course, your eyes are surely on the prize when attending the Grand Prix, but who’s to say you can’t savour some treats too? You can discover the secrets behind chocolate creation at nearby La Roche-en-Ardenne, or merely sit back and sample a range of Belgian beers, from Leffe to Hoegaarden.

Its impact on Grand Prix antiquity

The colourful history of Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is a serious boost to its allure. Built in 1921 for hosting Grand Prix events; it was actually used for motorcycle racing for its first three years and has been appointed The European Grand Prix six times between the 1925 and 1973. It’s also famously rained at the Belgian Grand Prix a massive 20 times in a row. Belgium’s circuit has gone through an array of changes including: relocation, scrapping slow turns, cancellations in the 1950s due to the Suez crisis, and Michael Schumacher surpassing the current world title by winning his 52nd Grand Prix here. As you can see, this Belgian track has a chequered-flag past to keep even an uninterested audience entertained and intrigued.

Danger value

Once considered the fastest circuit on the continent, the Spa-Francorchamps was eventually excluded in 1971 due to the refusal of authorities to make suggested changes. It was notorious for its slippery roads, high-speed sharp turns, and sending its drivers hurtling through public areas. As a result, Belgian authorities moved the race to another area. But the plucky Spa-Francorchamps fought back by cutting out perilous obstructions and roads through urban areas to boost its safety value. In 1985, it was even given an asphalt makeover to combat the constantly rain-soaked track. Unfortunately, an ironically hot day followed, breaking up the new safety feature so badly that cars couldn’t drive on it. But the thought was there, at least.

Belgian Gran PrixWith only a little digging, you soon uncover a treasure trove of delights that each help elevate Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps into the top of the racing-lover’s list. Now with 7km of track, 44 laps and a promise of world-famous drivers vying to hurtle passed the chequered flag first, this year’s race is set to be just as eventful.

Why not join us on our escorted tour to see the Belgian Grand Prix? Click here to view more information: http://bit.ly/1Le175d

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Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is nearly here, but it’s not too late to plan the perfect day with your Dad! Forget mugs, socks and bottles of beer; treat him to something a little bit more special. Our gift ideas will be sure to put a smile on his face this Father’s Day.

If he’s a motor-racing or football fan

Robert KubicaThere are not many guys that don’t enjoy sport – whether it’s playing a game themselves or sitting in the stands as a spectator. If your Dad is a Formula 1 nut, why not treat him to tickets to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, or venture further afield to see the Belgian Grand Prix by coach? If he’s a footie fan – why not head to Manchester and book at stadium tour, to see behind the scenes at United’s Old Trafford or City’s Etihad Stadium?

If he’s a keen golferTiger Woods

What better way to enjoy some bonding time with your Dad, than a morning playing or watching golf. Take your pick from a wide choice of weekend breaks around the UK with their own golf courses attached. Or maybe consider tickets to the British Open Championships in St Andrews in July?

If he loves culturebarca sagrada

If your Dad loves museums and sightseeing then why not really splash out and treat him to a city break? Classic destinations such as Barcelona, Paris or Rome are always a hit. For something a little different, why not consider hopping over the Irish Sea to Dublin or jumping on a flight to Prague, both of which are steeped in culture and boast a lively night-time scene to boot.


If he’s a theatre or music lover

Why not whisk your Dad off to London’sLondon West End to see his favourite musical? Billy Elliott, Jersey Boys and Phantom of the Opera are amongst the most popular, but there are plenty of toe-tapping shows to choose from. You’ve also got many of London’s famous attractions to explore too, from rides on the London Eye, to visits to the London Dungeon, Madame Tussaud’s and the Tower of London. Or why not book to see his favourite band or artist live at the O² Arena?

If you would like more information, please pop into your local branch. Find your nearest Hays Travel or Bath Travel branch here: http://bit.ly/1hPMo3q

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Hays Faraway Best of Vietnam Escorted Tour

Our very own John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel and Bath Travel, has recently escorted the Hays Faraway Best of Vietnam Tour.

Vietnam is a perfect country to explore. With booming cities, beautiful nature and an enviable climate, there’s never a dull day in this country. This remarkable place offers spectacular, contrasting landscapes from the emerald-green Fansipan Mountain to the majestic waterways of Mekong Delta.

VietnamHere are some highlights from the group’s Vietnamese adventure.

They began with a full day in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, which houses some awe-inspiring landmarks including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the revered One Pillar Pagoda.

Next, the group squeezed in a trip to both Ha Long Bay and Ha Long City. As an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay is praised for its beautifully scattered islands and captivating karst landscape (a natural rock structure only found in certain parts of the world). There are around 1,600 islands in the bay, but not a single one fails to provide astounding, untapped beauty.

Following a brief journey, the group arrived in Ha Long City. Not ones to waste time, they climbed aboard a wooden junk — a traditional type of boat — and began to explore the magic of the district. Since it’s one of southeast Asia’s premier tourist hotspots, there was much to see and do.

Soon after, the group continued their journey with a visit to age-old Hoi An. Hopping on a cyclo — a three-wheeled bicycle — they went to visit its ancient village Tra Que. This quaint must-see sits at the edge of Hoi An and is famous for its aromatic herbs, including mint and basil. The group learnt to plant and water herbs and vegetables, as well as properly cook them for maximum taste. Mercifully, they were allowed to sample their culinary masterpieces before setting off. Old town Hoi An is actually recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unusually well-preserved archaic streets and homes.

On the seventh day of the trip, the group travelled to Hue, via the scenic Hai Van Pass. This is essential if you want to see beautiful panoramic views of Vietnam’s central coastline. But they made sure to stop off at the picturesque Lang Co and savour the paradise of its hot, white-sand beach.

Hai Van Pass

After prising themselves away from the tropical coastline, the group eventually arrived in Hue. This began with a visit to the Imperial Citadel, the royal site of past ruling dynasties. They strolled through historical temples and gardens, and even explored the magnificent palace before ending their day with a visit to the Tomb of Minh Mang. This is the final resting place of the revered Emperor Minh Mang, who reigned from 1820 until 1841.

Following this culture refresher, the group headed to the amazing tunnel network of Cu Chi. This tunnel system covers almost 250km in length and was built to shelter over 16,000 members of the Viet Cong guerrilla force during the wars. The network has been used as hospitals, storage facilities, living quarters, and communication routes.

After some snap-happy exploration, the group set off on a city tour of the former capital of French Indochina. Once known as Saigon and now named Ho Chi Minh City, this iconic place is home to some astounding historic landmarks, including Binh Tay Market, Saigon Central Post Office, and Saignon Notre Dame Basilica.

Once another hearty breakfast in Ho Chi Minh City was devoured, the group ventured to Ben Tre Province, which sits comfortably wedged between two branches of the Tien Gieng River. Here, they saw where bricks are still painstakingly made by hand at the brick kiln of Phong Nam.

Later, they boarded a boat and cruised along the Chet Say River. This relaxing journey regularly stopped at various local workplaces, including a factory that heats coconut shells to produce charcoal! The cruise then docked at the quiet village of Delta, and the group jumped aboard a xe loi (motorized rickshaw) to go further into the peaceful village. This place appears utterly untouched by clock-hands: you can see farms, rice fields and vegetable plantations before making a pit-stop at a local house to enjoy a deliciously filling lunch. The group then took the scenic route along all the narrow canals back to Can Tho, the largest city in the region.

Vietnam 6

After a night’s stay here, the group embarked onto a local boat tour for a ride through the colourful floating markets of Cai Rang, before drifting through the labyrinths of streams and channels that surround Can Tho.

But alas, the UK Border Control queue began looming depressingly close. So, the group finished their staggering expedition with a final foray into Ho Chi Minh City — just to make sure not a sight, smell or sound was missed before leaving this stirringly diverse country.

If you would like to visit the stunning country of Vietnam then click here to view our Vietnam deals: http://bit.ly/1aNqMBM

Film Locations You Need to Visit

When a film is shot in an amazing location, we all end up dreaming about being there ourselves. Whether it’s wandering the lush land of The Shire, or dancing in the Austrian mountains singing “the hills are alive!” — admit it; you’ve always wanted to do it.

Sound of Music – filmed in Salzburg, Austria

If there’s one film that has truly stood the test of time, it’s The Sound of Music. You can embark on a bus tour dedicated to The Sound of Music through the charming city of Salzburg to visit many locations featured in the film. These include both Mirabell Gardens and Pegasus Fountain, where Maria sang and danced with the Von Trapp children during the iconic ‘Do-Re-Mi’ number. Thanks to The Sound of Music, so many people still visit the city each year. Although since 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, any trip to Salzburg will be extra special this year.

Austria - Salzburg_134107592

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – both filmed in New Zealand

New Zealand’s dramatic landscape was the perfect setting for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Both were filmed entirely in New Zealand, and super-fans will be delighted to know that many of the film’s locations are accessible to the general public. You can experience the real Middle Earth with a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set, which was the setting for The Shire that featured in both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

New Zealand - Hobbiton_274005011

Schindler’s List – filmed in Krakow, Poland

Steven Spielberg’s moving 1993 Holocaust drama is based on the life of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman born in 1908. He became an unlikely hero after turning his factory into a safe haven for Jewish people during the Second World War, which saved thousands of lives. The film not only won critical acclaim and a plethora of Academy Awards, but also had a huge impact in Krakow following its release. Many Schindler’s List tours are still available around the city, while Schindler’s factory is now a museum and a must-see for any visitor.

Wawel Castle, Krakow

The Beach – filmed in Phi Phi Island, Thailand

If one place is a prime example of paradise, it’s Phi Phi Island. The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, is about a group of young travellers that abandon society to live in a hidden lagoon in southern Thailand. Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island was the perfect location for the film. The island is surrounded by stunning turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs that plunge into the ocean; you can even visit Maya Bay and see first-hand why this stunning paradise was selected to be the backdrop for this 2000 film.

Thailand - Maya Bay_128142050

Mamma Mia – filmed in Skopelos, Greece

Skopelos is one of the most picturesque islands in Greece and a veritable feast for the eyes in the film adaption of the Abba-inspired musical. Part of the success of Mamma Mia was down to the beautiful Greek landscape that featured heavily in the film. The church that hosted Sophie’s wedding was filmed at Agios Ioannis Prodromos Monastery, which is located high up a cliff overlooking the tranquil waters of Skopelos. The harbour scene in Mamma Mia was actually filmed on the beautiful Greek isle of Skiathos, around one hour away from Skopelos by boat.

Greece - Skopelos_144299176

Frozen – inspired by Norwegian fjords

The world has gone Frozen-mad thanks to Disney’s wildly popular animation film, released in 2013. Cruises to Norway, the destination that inspired the smash-hit, have become increasing popular in recent years due to parents wanting to give their children an unforgettable ‘real life’ Frozen experience. Cruises are a fantastic way to experience the dramatic and stunning landscape of Norway. Whether you’re a Disney fan or just enjoy natural beauty, you’ll be in awe of the magnificent fjords, which were the inspiration behind this phenomenal film.

Norway - Olden_217017055

Which film location would you love to visit? Comment below to let us know! 


5 Reasons to Book with a Travel Agent

Planning a trip away can get so confusing and frustrating these days. With numerous travel websites to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start! We’re here to help take the stress away from you and make the process of booking a holiday easier. We have over 30 years of experience, so rest assured your holiday is in safe hands!

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Widest Choice on the High Street

We’re the UK’s Largest Independent Travel Agent; this means we can offer the most extensive travel opportunities, from coach holidays to around the world itineraries. We also offer some holiday extras, including car parking and car hire, travel insurance and fantastic rates on foreign currency. We really are your one-stop-travel-shop!

Saves you time

Instead of searching the internet for the best deals days on end, leave it up to the experts. We’ll take all your needs and requirements into consideration whilst finding you your dream holiday. Whether you’re looking for a family getaway, honeymoon or flight only, we’ll do all the research for you at no extra cost. You won’t need to worry about a thing!

We will find you the best deal

We have a few tricks up our sleeves that you won’t find yourself using the internet. If you’re planning a cruise holiday, let us take you through the process of finding the best itinerary for you. Going on a theme park holiday? No problem, we’ll find you the best deals on park tickets. If you’re hitting the slopes on a ski holiday, you can hire your equipment, lift passes and tuition all in advance with us. Nothing is too big or too small for us!

We’ve got the knowledge

Thinking about booking a holiday but not sure where you want to go? We’ll listen to what you’re after and tell you exactly where’s suitable for you. Whether it’s a first ever girl’s holiday, ski trip, or a short break in the UK, we want you to have the best experience possible and we’ll make sure that happens for you. We even have resident experts throughout our branches in a variety of areas, from Disney experts to Cruise specialists; they’ve been to the theme parks or have enjoyed a cruise on the ship! They offer first-hand knowledge and will be able to answer any of your questions.

Think of us as your safety net

We all know that sometimes holidays don’t always go ahead as planned. Flights can get delayed or cancelled, luggage can get lost, an illness can occur abroad. Never fear, your travel agent is here! We’ll save you the time and stress of having to making numerous phone calls to automated numbers or people you’ve never even spoken to before. Hearing a familiar voice will help put your mind at ease.

Next time you’re thinking of booking a holiday, pop into your local Hays Travel or Bath Travel branch – we’ll be happy to assist you in booking your dream holiday. Find your local branch here: http://bit.ly/1hPMo3q

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is nearly here, but it’s not too late to plan the perfect day with your Mum!  Forget chocolates and flowers; treat her to something a little bit more special. Our gift ideas will be sure to put a smile on her face this Mother’s Day.

If she’s a spa lover

All mothers need a bit of ‘me spatime’ every now and again, and there’s no better way to treat your mother (and yourself) than an indulgent day at the spa. Enjoy an afternoon of pure relaxation and allow her to unwind and be pampered from head to toe. Spoil her with a hot stone massage, a relaxing mud bath or a seaweed wrap for a Mother’s Day gift that ticks all the boxes.

If she’s a foodie

Afternoon Tea Rundle Lounge - Petit Fours

Mothers with a sweet tooth will love champagne afternoon tea! Finger sandwiches, jam and clotted cream scones, freshly baked cakes and macaroons all washed down with a glass or two of bubbly – what more could your mother want? You can choose from hundreds of beautiful locations across the UK, from country manors and swish hotels to cosy village cafés.

If she loves culture


If your Mother loves art galleries, museums and sightseeing then why not really push the boat out and treat her to a swish city break? Classic destinations such as Amsterdam, Paris or Rome are always a hit. For something a little more off the beaten track, you could whisk her away to Spain’s Seville or Switzerland’s Bern; both of which are steeped in history, art and culture and are just waiting to be explored.

If she’s a theatre lover


Why not whisk your mum off to London’s West End to see her favourite musical? Wicked, Billy Elliott and Phantom of the Opera are amongst the most popular, but there are plenty of vibrant shows to choose from. Matinee performances are also available on many top shows, so you can spend the evening exploring the glitz and glam of the capital.

If you would like more information, please pop into your local branch. Find your nearest Hays Travel or Bath Travel branch here: http://bit.ly/1hPMo3q

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