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Meet the Boss: Andrew Williams, Solos Holidays

 

Here at 101 Holidays, we like to get to know the people behind the world’s finest travel companies. This week we talk to Andrew Williams, Managing Director of Solos Holidays, founded over 30 years ago and awarded Best Specialist Singles Tour Operator in the 2011 British Travel Awards. Andrew started his travel career with the ILG Group in the 1980s and went on to head-up the sales divisions at Carlson Leisure Group and MyTravel in the ’90s. He is also founder of The Mighty Fine Company and The Fabulous Experience Company.

Andrew lives in Surrey with his wife and two children and is an avid supporter of Brighton and Hove Albion.

* Where did you go on holiday in 2011, and why? What are your plans for 2012?

” I was very happy to have stayed in the UK in 2011 but, workload permitting, the Caribbean beckons later this year. I’m also hoping to take in a tour of India which I sadly had to cancel last year. ”

* What is your favourite bolthole in the UK and why?

The Witterings on the Sussex coast – we rent a house on the blue flag beach a couple of times a year and it’s the perfect place to get away from it all (if that’s ever possible in this day of Blackberries and iPads!).”

* If you could spend a long weekend in any city abroad, which would you pick, and why?

” Sorry, but I’d have to pick two. New York for its vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere and Rome for its history, culture and romantic ambience.”

* Please tell us three items that are always found in your luggage.

” My iPad, Blackberry and Canon Powershot are essentials. I like to travel light so there isn’t room for much else other than my passport! ”

* What one thing would most improve people’s overall holiday experience?

” Keep an open mind and remember that not all cultures are like ours; be tolerant of the differences and accept that not everybody speaks English.”

* What has been your worst holiday experience?

“That’s an easy one – Crete in May in the late ’80s. Jeans and jumpers were the order of the day on the beach and we had to use hair dryers in our hotel room to generate heat.”

* Tell us your favourite hotel in the UK.

UK:  “I’m not a great one for hotels in the UK but I would highly recommend The Hotel in Watergate Bay, Cornwall – it’s in a great position and breaks the stereotype of seaside accommodation.

Europe: “Although not strictly an hotel, perhaps one of the most memorable is Håholmen Hustadvika, located on a small and remote island off Molde in Norway. It’s a tastefully converted fishing village with private accommodation.”

Rest of the world: “The Melrose Arch in Johannesburg and The Waldorf in New York are my two favourites.”

* What is the most exciting project your company is working on right now?

“Solos is a traditional business with over 30 years’ trading so the task of moving towards a technology-driven strategy without losing our core brand values has been challenging but immensely rewarding on a number of levels.”

* Thanks, Andrew.

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