Finding the ideal holiday destination can sometimes be difficult, add to that the need to have access to kosher food, and this can make options quite limited, but Ben Robbins, the owner of Bespoke Kosher Travel, wants to change this. Through his company, Ben aims to take the stress out of holiday planning, and change not only the way that Jewish people travel, but also where they can travel to.
Having worked for 10 years as the Operations Manager for Aish UK, he was responsible for organising all the travel and logistical details for groups travelling to all sorts of interesting destinations. It was during this time, that he began to think about using his experience to start his own business. “I realised that there was definitely a gap in the market for Jews who wanted to travel. For those that keep kosher, often the only option is going somewhere like Israel or New York, or resorting to eating tuna and crackers for their whole trip. Although there were many companies that offered kosher organised tours, there was nothing that was available for individual travellers, couples or families, and this is how Bespoke Kosher Tours fitted in.”
Bespoke Kosher Travel is not a travel agency, but rather a bespoke kosher tour operator which works closely with clients to create tailor-made packages which offer a wide range of services, from just simple meals deliveries for business trips through to all-inclusive romantic honeymoons, family trips, and even larger organised tours. They are able to offer a wide range of destinations including China, Sri Lanka and South Africa amongst others, working with local suppliers to organise all the logistical details. As Ben explains, “We can do as much or as little as the client needs from supplying meals, to suggesting activities and tours to sorting out drivers for them when they are there.”
Since starting the company 7 years ago, Ben now has 4 people working with him. As a small business, he feels that they are able to offer the personal touch to their clients, and it is their attention to detail which sets them apart. He recognises the importance of listening to the needs of their clients to ensure that they get every detail right. “Sometimes it is the little things that they may not have thought of, like telling them the type of plugs they need, to giving them the timings for minyans at the nearest shul, which really helps. We like to go above and beyond to ensure that people have a great time whilst they are away, so that they don’t have to worry about anything.”
Throughout the planning process, each client has their own personal travel assistant on hand, who offer guidance with every aspect of the trip. They co-ordinate all areas of the planning and booking, as being contactable during the trip itself, to advise with any issues that may arise, such as delayed flights, or making changes to their itinerary.
One of the most popular destinations for many of his clients is South Africa, and Ben has developed a good reputation for his work in this area. “South Africa is a great place to visit, and that is not just because that is where my wife is from! It appeals to all age groups, and has something for everyone. Bespoke Kosher Travel has established some great contacts and connections out there to be able to show the best that the country can offer.” Ben has also recently worked with clients travelling to other destinations such as India, Sri Lanka, China and Ecuador, and even managed to organise kosher meals for a client staying on a house boat in the Galapogas Islands!
As well as exotic destinations, Ben is also happy to work with international travellers who might be visiting the UK, helping to supply kosher meals, as well as advice on activities and things to see whilst they are here. He recently assisted a client from New York who was on holiday in London with his wife and daughter. “He told me that he wanted to have the best 48 hours in London he could, so I tried to make sure that he got it. He was really impressed by the service that we offered from delicious food to sorting theatre tickets and other activities. We even supplied Oyster cards, with details of how to get around the Underground, which they found really useful. At the end of the trip, he said that he would tell all his friends about the amazing experience he had, which is great for us, as word of mouth is really important within the Jewish community.”
The secret to organising the perfect holiday package according to Ben is empathising with his clients. “I try to put myself in their shoes, and imagine what I would want to know if I was going to a new place, and the kind of things I might like to see, and use this to give them the best experience possible.”
For Ben, being able to give people great memories is the best part of his job. “Every traveller is different, so no two holidays are the same, and it is great to be able to give people such memorable experiences. It is always nice when we get good feedback from satisfied customers, and makes all the hard work worthwhile. Knowing that we have been able to enable people to have the holiday that they wanted, and possibly the holiday they didn’t even know that they could have is really rewarding.”
If you would like to know more about how Bespoke Kosher Travel could help you organise your next holiday, get in touch with Ben to discuss further, email him on firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 020 3151 1660. Check out their website for more information – www.bespokekoshertravel.com
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