Kate Harris surprised even herself when she put her name forward to become a Travel Weekly Cover Star.
“In the past I would have never done something like this in a million years because I would not have wanted a small photo of me printed, let alone one splashed all over the front page,” says the 44-year-old owner of Inspired Travel in Burbage, Leicestershire.
But having shed more than eight stone – even regulars failed to recognise her in the street – she saw an opportunity to inspire others who have battled with their weight.
Four years ago, Kate weighed 19 stone and wore size 22 dresses.
Now a trim size 14 after sticking to Weight Watchers guidelines and regularly going to the gym, she says: “I felt other women might be able to identify with this and the fact I’ve lost weight, although it’s not been easy and it’s been over a long time.”
Kate, who freely admits she feels better about herself since losing weight, has been running her own agency for more than four years. She formerly worked for Travel Counsellors, The Co-op, Tomorrows World Travel and Hogg Robinson.
“We are called Inspired Travel because we wanted to inspire people to think beyond the normal mainstream brochure. Travel is my passion and I love people,” says Kate.
Her enthusiasm for travel and commitment to her customers means she regularly goes the extra mile – sometimes literally. Texting 11 clients who were in New Zealand at the time of the earthquake in February was nothing out of the ordinary.
“I wanted to check they were all OK, even if they weren’t on the South Island. Our business is 90% recommendations and I’ve built up a relationship with clients so they will not go somewhere else.”
Kate also didn’t think twice about filling in a passport form for an elderly client.
“Of course revenue is important,” she says, “but this was about someone who was going to give up going on holiday because of a nasty form.”
Nor did Kate hesitate about making a 90-minute drive to Peterborough after a plea for help from a customer on a Sunday night. “His child’s passport had expired and the family was due to fly to Dubai the following night. We hatched a plan and I met my client on Monday morning in Peterborough to countersign the passport form. They would have lost £6,500 if they had not gone.”
The move paid off: the family has just returned from their fourth trip to the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai, booked through Inspired Travel.
About our sponsor
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To contact the team, call 020 7468 4335. To order brochures, visit trade-gate.co.uk
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