Introducing Huben Travel
At Further Afield we love finding other travel companies which share our belief in working with special places to stay but which also share our belief in inclusivity and fairness. We recently came across Huben Travel, a brand new company based on these cornerstones, offering added travel benefits to travellers through its travel agency credentials. Founders Ben (above right) and Hugh chatted to us about their inspiration behind the business.
Why did you launch Huben Travel and did it entail a huge lifestyle shift?
Ben: Creating Huben Travel was a massive lifestyle change for us. After 11 years as a West End Stage Manager, I decided it was time for a shift in work-life balance. Hugh is a chartered accountant and we never saw each other, as I was working Tuesday to Sunday and Hugh was working Monday to Friday. We never had the same day off. We went away to a cosy inn in the Cotswolds and had a long chat about our interests and passions. The thing that came out on top was travel. We love to travel; we love to research holidays and we knew there was a big gap in the market for a high service LGBTQ+ travel agency. We have both had travel experiences that have been moments of genius from the supplier and we have put all our travel experiences into our offering.
Tell us a bit about the services offered by Huben Travel
Hugh: At Huben Travel, we set out to provide a travel service that focuses on the tiny details that make a holiday memorable. We offer travel to destinations all over the world and our specialism in LGBTQ+ travel means that any holiday we provide has been researched for its suitability, inclusivity and safety. We spend time getting to know our guests – we think about the small touches and include little elements so that they remember our service. How many travel agents do you know who call a hotel to make sure two appropriately sized bathrobes are in a room for a same-sex couple?
How’s it been going so far?
Hugh: 2020 has certainly been a challenge. Not only have we launched a company in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s a company that’s sole trade is from an industry which has been flipped upside-down by COVID-19. We went back and forth about the launch date but we took the gamble to launch in July when there were green shoots for travel back in summer. Although business has been slow, we have used the time to really research our products; attending webinars, speaking to hotel general managers and concierge to make sure that we have the best offering possible. We’ve refined our service so that it is attentive without being over the top. It was important that we spent this time making sure we had it right and that we were not just another agent.
When you’re travelling yourselves what do you look for in a place to stay?
Ben: The first thing we do is research the country and its local laws. We all know that local laws can differ greatly from law to the attitudes in international hotels. A prime example of this is in the Maldives. Although homosexuality is illegal under local law, the international hotel islands are incredibly welcoming and friendly.
The next thing that is very important to us is the food. We look for a hotel or local area with a selection of à la carte restaurants. We’re not fans of a buffet. The final essential part of the trip is what there is to see and do. Although I love to kick back and do nothing on holiday, Hugh loves to get out and explore, so we always try and get that balance.
Do you have a “hidden gem” you’d be prepared to share with FA?
Hugh: Our getaway bolt hole is the Red Level at Gran Melia Palacio de Isora on Tenerife. The quality of service, food and accommodation is always consistently high. Plus, the weather is great and it’s only a short flight from the UK. We have sent so many other couples and families to this hotel and always get great feedback.
Closer to home, we can’t wait to visit Tallavey Cottages in Highland Perthshire, Scotland. It’s an adults-only retreat with a focus on sustainability and the environment. Both cottages have a hot tub, perfect for stargazing in the pitch-black sky, and you get your very own sauna.
If you have one tip to give to travellers before they go on holiday what would it be?
Ben: Use a travel agent. This isn’t just because we are a travel agent, but because after this year especially, why wouldn’t you use the service of a travel professional – someone who is happy to search out individual experiences, sit on hold to the call centres and really work hard for their clients. Everyone owns a pair of pliers, but would you remove your own tooth?
£100 off a Huben Travel holiday
Find out more about Huben Travel and mention the code FURTHERAFIELD when booking a Huben Travel holiday and you’ll get £100 off when you spend over £2000 on a booking. The discount can only be applied once per booking and no cash alternative is available. Offer ends 31 December 2021.