Happy New Year 2017

New Year Thoughts and Reflections

As is tradition, we take this time to look back and reflect on the year and set plans and goals for the next. For a list of some of the top travel destinations for bringing in the new year, see our post from last year.

2016 was very well known for the long list of icons we sadly lost including Terry Wogan, Prince, David Bowie, Mohammed Ali, Victoria Wood, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Alongside this we saw Brexit, Trump winning the US Election, the exploding Samsung phones and Bake-off leaving the BBC. Aside from all that we still had many positive stories such as Leicester City winning the Premier League, celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday and our Olympic and Paralympic teams bringing home a record number of medals from Rio. Here are some of the highlights of our year here at The Travel Visa Company:

Taking a look back at 2016

Business Events

Following last year’s success at the Business Travel Show, we teamed up with MPI Brokers in February to exhibit again with a newly designed stand. We thoroughly enjoyed the two days and met a whole host of new business contacts and were able to showcase our newest product offerings. Read our blog about the event to learn more about Europe’s leading exhibition and conference dedicated to Corporate Travel.

We also attended a number of events for ITT Future You who run days at many universities across the UK to share knowledge about the travel industry to aspiring students. We were delighted to offer advice and support to the hundreds of young people who are no doubt the future of travel. Some of the key areas we spoke about were Apprenticeship opportunities, teaching/studying abroad and sharing our knowledge of the various different types of visas and entry requirements for countries worldwide.


Charity Fundraising

For 2016 our chosen charity was the Family Holiday Association to support their 500 for 500 campaign. This set us a £500 target and we had ambitious plans to raise this amount. After a lot of planning, on 20th July we did a non-stop 24hr Around The World cycle in partnership with STUDIO 4ORCE Personal Training. It was a great success and everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed taking part – our grand total for the year was £812.50!


New Products

We have a strong focus on researching and developing new services for our clients and customers. There have been many changes to the entry requirements in 2016 and we have been at the forefront in keeping up with the new application systems and travel visas. Our comprehensive portfolio of media visa services have expanded to cover even more countries, travellers can apply with us for their new Canadian ETA, we support a number of tour operators and travel agents in obtaining Cuban Tourist Cards and have partnered with a number of companies to branch out into other essential travel services. Masta can provide our customers with expert advice about health requirements, those who would like added protection can sign-up with ConsularAssist for round-the-clock assistance worldwide and business travellers can obtain their ATA Carnets to cover their equipment for travel.


Award Winners!

After winning the award for Excellence in Customer Service last year, we were excited to be up for another award this in 2016. This was a bit different to our usual nominations as it was for one particular individual in our team – our Social Media and Marketing apprentice James Healy. The hard work and effort he put in during the past year on his course really paid off and we were delighted to hear his name announced as Apprentice of the Year at the South Cheshire Chamber Awards. He is now working towards a higher-level degree apprenticeship and continues to be a role-model for our future apprentices. As well as winning an award, we were keen to support the chamber and sponsored the Exporter of the Year award. Read more about the event here or watch the highlights from the evening.


New Arrivals

Our review of the year wouldn’t be complete without celebrating the new arrivals in our company. Not just our new staff members but also the new additions outside the office. Our Managing Director and Head of Sales both became first-time grandparents and our Operations Manager is now a very proud mother. Congratulations!


Plans for 2017

After a hugely successful 2015, we had ambitious goals and our hard working staff have achieved some incredible results. The past year is another testament to our team – continuing to win awards, surpassing our fundraising targets and continuing to be one of the UKs fastest growing travel visa agencies. Some of our main aims for the year ahead is to work on re-designing our application packs to improve usability, continue the development of our website for use on mobiles and tablets, developing new services and to continue expanding our team. We also plan to focus on smaller business events in our local community and, once again, raise as much as we can for charity.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support as we look forward to the next 12 months.

 

Happy New Year from The Travel Visa Company!

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Family Holiday Association Charity Day

Fundraising

If you didn’t already know, the team here at The Travel Visa Company have pledged to raise £500 for The Family Holiday Association. To raise this money, we decided to cycle the world in 24 hours!

The Family Holiday Association is the only national charity dedicated to providing British seaside breaks and day trips for families struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring.

We have had a brilliant few days of fundraising with the whole team taking part! Aside from the cycling, the two days saw the team take part in all manner of mini games and activities, ranging from our 1000 piece world map jigsaw (which is very close to being completed!) to in-office basketball as-well as a whole host of other activities to help raise money for The Family Holiday Association.

The Travel Visa Company Team

We are very proud to say that we have successfully cycled for 24 hours non-stop!

Our 19 participants managed to cycle 250 miles. During this time we…


Around The World In 24 Hours Infographic


Thank You!

To all the members of our team that took part in our cycle, Crewe Hall who kept us topped up with cold drinks and refreshments, STUDIO 4ORCE Personal Training who very kindly donated one of their exercise bikes for the event …and not forgetting Ange and Michelle from The Family Holiday Association who travelled all the way from London to visit us as we completed the cycle! We cannot thank you enough.

Don’t Forget

You can still donate and help us reach our target of £500! Visit our JustGiving page here.

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Around The World In 24 Hours

This year we have chosen to support The Family Holiday Association.

The Family Holiday Association is the only national charity dedicated to providing British seaside breaks and day trips for families struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring.

To celebrate our new relationship with FHA, we have pledged to raise £500 which will be raised through our latest (and greatest) charity event:

Around the world in 24 hours!

atw

On the 20th of July, Team Travel Visa will be carrying out a 24 hour non-stop cycle around the world! We have arranged for an Exercise bike to be set-up in the office, which has been kindly donated by the very generous people at STUDIO 4ORCE Personal Training, and we will be cycling the equivalent of 250 Miles / 400 Kilometres.

Visit our JustGiving Page to donate >

Now, obviously, to cycle around the world is a mammoth job! Especially in under 24 hours. Fortunately for us, our crack team of mathematicians have calculated a formula that will help us to achieve this goal!

So for each mile we clock on an exercise bike it will be 100 miles on the map. The circumference of the Earth is almost 25,000 miles (meaning we will need to cycle 250 miles).

We have given ourselves 24 hours to cycle around the world, but we hope to finish the cycle in 22 hours (if all goes to plan). The event will take place from 3pm on Wednesday the 20th and will continue into the night and through to the morning, with an estimated completion time of 1pm.

The Family Holiday Association is a charity that we, as a business, are passionate about and we are very excited to be able to raise money for a cause that we care so much about.

To donate to this chairty which really is close to our hearts, simply go to our JustGiving page.

Throughout the cycle we will be constantly updating our social media accounts so keep an eye out!

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SPONSOR – Studio 4orce

studio

All personal training sessions are conducted by John Howell, a fully qualified PT Instructor. John’s qualifications were gained though a leading UK Training Provider.

Happy New Year 2016

New Year Around The World

Ever wondered how other countries around the world celebrate the New Year? Here are some of the most popular cities to celebrate NYE in:

NYE-blog

Taking a look back at 2015

2015 has been a brilliant year for us at The Travel Visa Company and we would like to say a massive thank you to all our hard working staff who have allowed us to be the award wining visa procurement agency that we are today! Here are some of our favourite highlights for 2015:

Award Winners!

Friday the 6th of November was the night that we won the award for Excellence in Customer Service. This was a major highlight for us at The Travel Visa Company. This was an award that represented the hard work, commitment, dedication and effort that the team had put in for the year. For this to be acknowledged by the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce was an incredible feeling and, for us, is a massive achievement! Customer service is our primary focus and what sets us apart from other visa procurement agencies.

award

Charity Events

2015 saw us take part in many different charity events and raised a total of over £1,000 for a range of causes including: Comic Relief, World Cancer Day, Wear It. Beat It., Jeans For Genes Day and #WearItPink. Our biggest event was the Great Manchester Run with 6 staff members raising over £800 for ABTA Lifeline and Mid Cheshire Hospitals Scanner Appeal.

charity

Business Events

During February of 2015, Ray Ward, Phillip Ashwell, Lisa Tatlock, Dan Taylor and Jon Hill attended The Business Travel Show. This is Europe’s leading exhibition and conference dedicated to Corporate Travel. This was our first year at this event and it was by far a success – pushing our brand out to a larger audience and securing new business contracts.

btsWe were also in attendance at the World Travel Market which took place in the first week of November. Representing The Travel Visa Company we had Phillip Ashwell (Head of Sales) and Reece Hardstaff (Research and Development Executive).  The two gave a presentation to around 400 professionals about the increasing opportunity for travelling students.

wtm

New Products

We announced a range of new products in 2015! We are now able to offer: Schengen visas, media visas, student visas, passport photos and resizing and a passport renewal service. As well as this we launched our new blog (right here) and regularly create new content for our readers, customers and partners. Be sure to check back each week for the latest posts.

products

New Office

An exciting part of late 2015 was moving our Manchester offices. Expansion is brilliant in any business and it was great for us to be able to move closer to the city centre. The location of the new office is China Visa Bureau, Pall Mall Court, 61-67 King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD.

manchester-office

New Car

We added a new car to our current fleet of business vehicles! Towards the beginning of 2015 our first ever smart car was brought in to the family. Currently we have 2 Toyota IQ’s Our fleet has now increased to 3 vehicles!

fleet

Plans for 2016

The Travel Visa Company are very excited for what 2016 has in store for us! So far we already have plans to attend more business events, raise more money for charity and continue to grow our brand. We are also developing our new website which will be live in the coming months with an all-new mobile/tablet friendly design and plenty more new features to make it even easier for travellers to quickly find out their specific visa requirements and complete their application(s).

Happy New Year from The Travel Visa Company!

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Annual Charity Round-up

The year so far

It has been a busy year for our community and charity events! We have taken part in more events and are getting more involved with charity fundraising that we have ever been both for our chosen charity – Cancer Research UK – and for many other causes:

From having a slippers day and cake baking to getting all the men in lipstick, wearing pink and having a buffet of red food & drink… it’s safe to say we have had a lot of fun! Our main charity event of the last year was the Great Manchester Run which was much more challenging and saw 6 staff members training for many weeks in the lead up to the event – raising funds for both Mid Cheshire Hospitals Scanner Appeal and ABTA Lifeline.

We raised a total of £1,041.20 in the past 12 months!

team

As we have reached the end of our financial year, it’s time for us to choose a new charity to support for 2015/16. Look out for all our future efforts in hoping to top last years total. If you have any fundraising ideas or know of any events we should get involved with, please let us know!


 

The Family Holiday Association

fhaWe have decided that we will be supporting The Family Holiday Association as our chosen charity of the year. The Family Holiday Association is the only national charity dedicated to providing British seaside breaks and day trips for families struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring.

Continue reading Annual Charity Round-up

#WearItPink

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cupcakesToday is the day that everyone comes together in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The fight against cancer has never been stronger with people all over the country getting involved.

The Team here have had a brilliant day raising money especially with Billy’s ‘uniquely’ stylish outfit and not forgetting
Karen’s delicious pink cupcakes that were on sale to the staff here all to raise money for charity! Overall we managed to raise a brilliant £56.00 for Breast Cancer Now!

Breast Cancer Now are the UK’s largest breast cancer charity. get-pinkyThey are dedicated to funding research into this devastating disease. The belief is that if we all act now, by 2050, no one will die from breast cancer. But that can only be done by working in a new, collaborative way. By bringing together all those affected by the disease to improve the way we prevent, detect, treat and stop the disease. So we can move from a time when people fear breast cancer to a generation where everybody lives.

Every year, wear it pink raises around £2 million during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, by asking people to wear something pink and donate whatever they can. Since the very first wear it pink event in 2002, they have raised over £27 million thanks to the generosity of many thousands of people taking part in approximately 7,000 schools, 40,000 workplaces and 8,250 homes and social venues.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer currently in the UK and it is estimated that every day more than 1,300 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. This is why it is so important to us here at The Travel Visa Company to help raise money in order to prevent the amount of cases of breast cancer.

“Lets beat cancer sooner”

Jeans For Genes Day 2015

Friday the 18th September saw the return of Jeans for Genes Day. This was the second year the team here at The Travel Visa Company has taken part in this charity fundraising event. The idea behind the day is simple. Wear a pair of jeans and donate to charity.jeansforgenes

We managed to raise £21.70 over the duration of the day! The money we helped raise goes towards helping children and their families who have, and are affected by, genetic disorders.

There are between 4,000 and 6,000 known genetic WD
disorders currently being treated in the UK. It has been estimated that one in 25 children are affected by a genetic disorder and around 30,000 babies are newly diagnosed each year which is why donating to Genetic Disorders UK is so important.

Jeans for Genes has had massive
support since the organisations creation in 1992 and has raised over £35 million! The charity has been supported by a huge range of different celebrities and famous figures including Kate Moss, Warwick Davis, Fabrice Muamba and Kate Garraway.

Overall, the Travel Visa Company team had a brilliant day raising money for a brilliant cause!

To find out more about this charity you can visit the Jeans for Genes official website at: http://www.jeansforgenesday.org/

To donate, go to: http://www.jeansforgenesday.org/donate/

Follow them on twitter @JeansforGenes

Follow them on instagram @jeans_for_genes

Like their facebook page: Jeans For Genes

Great Manchester Run

pre-raceLast weekend members of The Travel Visa Company team took part in our first ever charity run. And what a run it was! We ran the Morrisons’ Great Manchester Run, the biggest 10K in Europe with 40,000+ runners, which made up part of a weekend of sporting events in the city.

It was a scenic run, starting and finishing in the city centre and passing Old Trafford along the way. The streets were lined with bus loads (quite literally!) of supporters, there were live bands and DJ’s playing at various points of the course and a mass of runners with incredible stories of charity and fundraising.duncan-post

The Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity appeal was set up to fund £1million for a new MRI scanner. The existing scanner operates 8am – 8pm 7 days per week. A new scanner would allow more people to get treated and shorter wait times, keeping up with the growth in population.

The Travel Visa Company ran for two very worthwhile causes; Mid Cheshire Charitable Funds and ABTA LifeLine. In total six members of staff took part. Dan and Phil were running for ABTA lifeline and Vicky, Duncan, Billy and Lisa were running to raise money for Mid Cheshire Charitable Funds Scanner Appeal.dan-lisa

ABTA LifeLine is ABTA’s charitable trust. Our mission is to help travel industry colleagues when they or their families need help. We award grants to help ease serious financial hardship caused by life changing medical conditions, bereavement, disability and domestic violence among other things.

With a very varied range in age and ability, we were put in different starting groups and set ourselves individual training schedules and goals (all of which were beaten!) Other members of the team came to support the runners, and we’re happy to say that everyone completed the 10K with the following finishing times – well done!post-race

  • Lisa – 0:50:10
  • Billy – 0:54:31
  • Dan – 0:55:50
  • Duncan – 0:59:38
  • Vicky – 1:12:05
  • Phil – 1:19:53

Phil and Dan raised a whopping £480.00 in total for ABTA LifeLine. Vicky, Duncan, Billy and Lisa raised £335.00 for Mid Cheshire Charitable Funds. Thanks to everyone who supported and sponsored us – it really helped keep spirits up.

There is still time to send in your donations if you haven’t already:

Donate on JustGiving – www.justgiving.com/teams/thetravelvisa

Charity Fundraising

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Slipper Day

This week has seen The Travel Visa Company take part in two charity days for two very worthwhile causes. Wednesday 4th February was ‘World Cancer Day’ and we raised money by paying to bring in our slippers for the day….something we should do more often!

As the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, Cancer Research UK is almost entirely funded by the public. With over 200 types of cancer and more than 331,000 people diagnosed in the UK in 2011. Text ‘UNITE’ to 70200 to donate £3 to Cancer Research UK or donate online.

Charity Kissing Wall
Kissing Wall and winning Raffle Tickets

Friday 6th February was ‘Wear It. Beat It.’ through the British Heart Foundation. We all had to come in wearing something red and held a raffle for everybody to take part in. A surprise to most staff was the ‘Kissing Wall’ where we ALL had to wear lipstick and see who could get the boldest kiss, whose lips were whose and who had the best pout (unfortunately I didn’t win this!).

The BHF are the nation’s heart charity and largest independent funder of cardiovascular research. With coronary heart disease being the UK’s single biggest killer, their work is helping to change this. Text ‘RED’ to 70060 to donate £3 to help fund their life saving research.

We managed to raise £48.50 for the two fantastic causes and I would like to thank all the staff for taking part. We urge everybody to try and get involved in helping the community – with Comic Relief just around the corner you can start planning now!