North East festive focus with: Ben Trattles, Summer Takeover
Ben Trattles, MD at North East travel startup Summer Takeover, is the latest North East business leader to join our quickfire December interview series.
Coming straight out of University, Benlaunched the successful holiday business alongside friends Warren Pearson and Harley Gibb. Since then, the growing firm has went from strength to strength as we reported in May earlier this year.
Today Ben looks back at 2016 and gives us an insight to his upcoming Christmas plans.
If you had to choose one thing - what are you most proud of your company achieving this year, why?
Overcoming challenging market conditions and still driving business forward with consistent growth. We have also expanded our product offering and employed some fantastic new and very creative staff which has allowed us to flourish throughout 2016.
What was the single biggest challenge faced by your firm in 2016?
There was a great deal of uncertainty surrounding Brexit so it was imperative the business faced that challenge head on. The challenge created by leaving is likely to continue for the foreseeable future as well, so getting well equipped to deal with the subsequent fall out was difficult.
Can you tell us one thing your business is doing in 2017 that really excites you?
Development of our sister companies Uncharted, the worlds first student yachting holiday and also Tidal, a series of boat parties in Zante and Ibiza. It’s all very nautical so I hope we manage to find our sea legs over the next few months!
Which North East firm has impressed you the most this year, why?
This one is a bit left-field for me and I only have my girlfriend to blame. Consistently having to make trips to collect new orders (on an almost daily basis!) from Pink Boutique, the fashion brand seems almost unstoppable with incredible growth. A quick look through their social media accounts and their engagement and you can see exactly why they’re turning into a real powerhouse.
Are there any emerging businesses in the region that’ve caught your eye this year that you’ve been previously unaware of?
I’m particularly excited about Best Student Halls. Owned by a close friend, the business has some huge growth potential in 2017 and has managed to establish itself in a competitive market already since it’s inception in 2016. I believe the student letting market is relatively untapped from a technology point of view and they will benefit from a huge target audience in the UK and overseas.
Is there an industry or sector of the North East business community which you expect to really take off next year?
I believe we will see a lot of good things from Digital Marketers, especially those that embrace new developments in the industry such as the improvements to Facebook’s live streaming service. There’ll be no shortage of work for good software developers, reflecting the massive advances in this sector in recent years too.
What was your first job?
Serving sausage, eggs, chips and beans in Morrison’s cafe at 16. Wearing the iconic cap and hairnet was necessary back then with my full head of hair! Looking back it was actually a fantastic first job and a good introduction to the working world. I think a lot of my work ethic now came from the two years working there before university.
If you weren’t doing what you do, is there a job you’d love to have?
Of course I would love to be racing F1 cars and travelling the world getting paid to do something I love, but if I look at it, i’m not actually doing something too dissimilar. Minus the fast cars. I’m extremely fortunate do be doing something I have a real passion for and love helping others too.
What do you do on Christmas day?
Christmas is a relatively quiet period for us so this is a good opportunity to reflect on the year and prepare for an extremely busy period in January.
For the past three years we have headed to the Caribbean. To be honest, I think my Mum’s used it as a way to get out of making the Christmas dinner, and if we’re being frank I’d much prefer a barbecue on the beach to Tracy’s attempt at a Turkey.
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