It’s currently difficult to avoid any conversation that doesn’t involve COVID-19, life post-lockdown and ‘the new normal’ (whatever that may be!) This new way of living, shopping and travelling is fresh for us all and so many brilliant local businesses are working hard to adapting their services accordingly, so we can shop and live our new way of life as calmly and confidently as possible.
One #ShopLocal business that is doing just that is Rutland Travel. Owned and run by Krystian Tatum and located on Uppingham’s High Street (next door to Scandimania Coffee House) Rutland Travel has become the perfect one-stop-shop for all your travel needs. Krystian makes sure that all Rutland Travel customers are well looked after – with access to the best travel offers and COVID inclusive insurance packages (provided through their new addition to the business, Rutland Insure) you can be sure that you are in good hands!
Krystian is passionate about creating a place for local residents to browse and book their travels confidently, with access to the best information, personal reassurance and travel protection. It couldn’t be easier - Rutland residents don’t have to sit and scroll through endless web pages of bewilderment when they can simply pop down into Uppingham and visit Rutland Travel. Let Krystian do all the hard work for you, with ease, affordability, certainty and assurance that you can travel safely and securely. All you need to do is look forward to relaxing, exploring and seeing the world once again.
Many consumers often assume that going to a small local travel agent is going to be considerably more expensive than a large chain – however, that really isn’t so! In fact, booking through a local business such as Rutland Travel is usually the same price or even cheaper. Not only are you receiving first-hand knowledge and worry-free booking with Krystian’s fabulous professional advice, but you’re also supporting a small business and our local high street at the same time!
I interviewed Krystian to find out more about how Rutland Travel began, the services they offer, the impact of COVID-19 and why Rutland Travel is the only agent you need for holiday bookings and travel insurance.
Read on to find out more!
1. Firstly, please can you give us a bit of background behind Rutland Travel and how the business came about?
Krystian: The business began back in 2012 in our first small shop in North Norfolk. Ever since we have been independently owned and I have run everything full time by myself. I started out in insurance and financial services but had always had a keen interest in travel and wanted to create my own travel business. We grew from small premises to a 100 square metre travel agency and coffee shop in North Norfolk. When we relocated to Rutland three years ago, I decided that Uppingham, with its friendly community and thriving local businesses, was the perfect place for our growing business.
2. What are the booking locally through Rutland Travel as opposed to booking online?
Krystian: There are so many benefits of booking locally! Living and working in Rutland, we are amazingly flexible in how we can contact and meet customers. We are contactable evenings and weekends by phone, text, email, messenger, WhatsApp - you name it! In fact, most of our customers message us on evenings and weekends when it is most convenient for them - which is fine with us and we respond very quickly! Once normality returns, we are also looking forward to resuming visits our customers at home or meeting in local coffee shops.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the importance of booking through a travel agent, as travellers have full protection should the holiday be cancelled, and you have us on to deal with the endless hours of phone calls and emails. There is a myth that it’s cheaper to book online directly with suppliers, but it simply isn't true. We are usually the same price or cheaper and we add free extras on many holidays plus exclusive deals with many suppliers. Of course, if it’s a simple last-minute beach package holiday then there may be better deals online but for most amazing experiences including cruises, river cruises, safaris, tours and tailor-made holidays, we are the best place to start! We are often able to beat your quote, and as the only locally owned travel agency the support of local people is much appreciated and means a lot to us.
3. Please tell us a little more about Rutland Insure and how Rutland Travel is now your one- stop-shop for travelling safely and securely.
Krystian: COVID-19 of course, has been devastating for the travel industry - but thankfully most of our customers were able to rearrange their holidays rather than cancel, and bookings for 2021 and even 2022 have been promising. COVID-19 was a huge surprise to insurance companies out too, and they have only now begun to bounce back with fully COVID-19 protected insurance policies.
We decided that not only should we improve our travel insurance offering, but we should return to our insurance roots and offer our customers a full range of insurance products. We are uniquely positioned to do this thanks to our experience in the industry - so rutlandinsure.co.uk was born! With Brexit looming and the ongoing difficulties with COVID-19, we aim to be a one stop shop for all our customers’ travel and insurance needs.
4. There are so many interesting, educational and bucket-list-worthy holiday destinations you offer - European River Cruises, Safaris, UK Staycations and so much more! Tell us more about some of your fantastic offers at the moment, the stunning destinations our readers can visit, and how best to discover the world safely in the current travel circumstances?
Krystian: Even before the current situation, we had positioned ourselves as the local specialists in river cruising, safaris, luxury cruising, touring and honeymoons - and this has not changed. In fact, areas such as river cruising and small group responsible touring will be even more of a focus. Our favourite type of travel is river cruises – believe it or not, there are an amazing range of river cruises available in Scotland, Europe and beyond! A safari river cruise or a wine cruise is certainly on my bucket list. We love them so much that we have created a new specialist website riverdestinations.co.uk to inform and inspire!
There are so many offers available for all kinds of holidays for this winter and next year, so it really is the perfect time to book and give yourself something to look forward to. It’s impossible to pick out the best offers as practically everything is on offer… so let us do the hard work for you! Just let Rutland Travel know what you are looking for and we will find it for you! We make sure that all holidays booked are fully protected and flexible for cancellations.
In terms of destinations in the short term (whilst we are limited by travel corridors) Malaysia has recently been added to the list and is one of my favourite places to visit. The culture, food and the scenery are all amazing. Langkawi Island is a must-visit - think Thailand without the crowds!
5. Many locals have had to cancel their weddings and honeymoons during the pandemic are changing plans or looking to reschedule things until 2021/2022. Tell us more about some of the incredible honeymoon destinations and ideas available for the future with Rutland Travel...
Kystian: There is already increased demand for 2021 and 2022 honeymoons and overseas weddings. There seems to be a split in demand between the traditional 2 week all-inclusive beach honeymoons in exotic locations such as the Maldives, and more adventurous honeymoons where couples tick items off their bucket lists. The most popular enquiry at the moment is combining Safari and beach honeymoons in Zanzibar or Mombasa. We offer tours with our partners G Adventures to all corners of the globe, with food and adventure tours proving particularly popular.
Contact us for our honeymoon or adventure brochures and we will pop a copy through your door so you can start planning! Should the unexpected happen (again!) we will only use suppliers that have handled the current situation well and have booking protection policies in place. When booking through us you are fully protected, and we are very proud and not one penny has been lost on any bookings through us during the pandemic. Plus you know where to find us if anything goes wrong… so book with confidence for 2021!
6. Finally, what does it mean to you to run a business in Rutland? What are your favourite things about living/working in the area, and are there any other exciting plans for the future of Rutland Travel & Rutland Insure?
Krystian: Rutland is the perfect place to run a small business. Thee community is so supportive of local business and small businesses like to help each other out. Shop Local has extra meaning in Rutland, and of course outside of business hours we have wonderful countryside and lovely towns and villages to explore and enjoy a coffee - I have plenty of those each day! We at Rutland Travel have plans to be the go-to travel agent for all local people. We are always innovating and improving, and whilst this year unfortunately has been a step back in some ways it has also allowed us to make a lot of improvements, and we are certain that we will come back even stronger post-COVID! _______________________________
Shop Local Quiz: Support local businesses in the area:
1. Favourite place for brunch/lunch? Raff’s Coffee Shop, Uppingham 2. No.1 spot for an evening meal? The Lord Nelson, Oakham 3. Where do you love to shop? The Friday Market, Uppingham 4. Favourite coffee house? The Larder, Oakham & (our neighbours!) Scandimania Coffee House, Uppingham!
5. Perfect place for a day out? Rutland Water (of course!) 6. Local brand or business you admire? Baines Bakery, Uppingham 7. Favourite fact about the area? Rutland's motto “Multum in Parvo” means “Much in Little” - Thank you Google!