Bin liners and some shrink rap are ways to find space, man

Bin liners and some shrink rap are ways to find space, man

Industry talk

n What was your first job in travel and how much did you get paid?

ABCHoliday Extras marketing director. I was paid enough!

n What apart from your current position, would be your ideal job in travel?

An astronaut, with the franchise to market the moon.

n What has been your biggest challenge so far in the travel industry?

Figuring out why we are all prepared to do so much for such small margins.

n Who has been the biggest influence on your career and why?

On a negative note, Gerald Ratner – never compare jewellery to sandwiches, even if they are from Marks and Spencer. On a positive note, Maggie Thatcher, for creating UKplc, for a short while anyway.

n What’s the best job you’ve had apart from your current one?

As a consultant there’s lots to choose from. Probably working for the musician Peter Gabriel. I’m glad I don’t have his talent.

n Which company, apart from your own, do you most admire?

Airtours, for the fact that from small acorns grow great oak trees.

n If you weren’t in travel, what would you be doing?

I’d be a psychologist because people fascinate me.

n How do you deal with timewasters at work?

I find the best method is not to let them sit down.

n How long do you expect it will be before a significant number of bookings are made by digital television?

Within the next two years.

n Do you have a Web site and if so how many bookings do you receive on it?

We’ve had a Web site for almost three years. We’ve just launched a second-generation site and had our first booking on it yesterday. The address is

n Do you agree with travel agents charging a fee for their work?

If it is a fee instead of commission then it is easier for the consumer to judge if they are getting value for money from the service the agent offers.

n Make one prediction about travel in the 21st century.

We’ll all be going everywhere at a fraction of the cost with virtual reality.

Personal talk

n What is your star sign?


n What would you change about yourself?

Give me a photographic memory any day.

n Which living person do you most respect and why?

Nelson Mandela, for his achievements in South Africa.

n If you could be anyone for a day who would it be and why?

Anthony Hopkins, he leads such a varied life – cannibalism to Shakespeare in a day.

n What are your hobbies?

Tennis, walking, sailing, skiing, biking and any earth-based sport I haven’t tried – forget parachuting, if we were supposed to fly we’d have wings.

n What’s the corniest chat-up line you’ve ever used?

I think it would have to be: “I know this great airport hotel at Heathrow.”

n What is the most memorable destination you’ve visited and why?

Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies – small on culture but big on everything else, loads of snow, great summers too. Aren’t their moose unbelievably ugly?

n What type of holiday would you avoid at all costs?

Ocean cruising, what you do for a week, let alone two weeks on a ship is beyond me.

n What’s your idea of a great night out?

A sumptuous dinner on a desert island with my wife Rhona.

n How do you relax?

I would have to say entertaining the children.

n What would you have put on your gravestone?

I’ll be back in a flash.

Stephen Lawrence

Job title: managing director.

Age: 37.

Born: Lagos, Nigeria.

Lives: Hythe, Kent.

Status: married with two children.

Education: Island School, Hong Kong; Bryanston School, Blandford, Dorset; and University of Bradford.

Path to career: from 1984-1988 worked for Esso Petroleum as strategic planning executive. From 1988-1994 worked as a management consultant for Smith and Williamson. Joined ABCHoliday Extrasin 1994, started as marketing director beforeprogressing to the role of marketing/insurancedirector, then to marketing/insurance/call-centre director before current role.


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