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We interview Angelee Rathor: Entrepreneur, mother and founder of luxury travel company, SevenTravel

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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Interview from Angelee Rathor, Founder of SevenTravel

  • Have you always been entrepreneurial? What led you to take that first step and set up your own Travel business, especially during a recession?

Entrepreneurialism definitely runs in my family and goes back a few generations, with various family members working across textiles, manufacturing and real estate. I have always worked in travel, but from a corporate perspective, in my other business SevenEvents (www.sevenevents.co.uk) which is about curating reward and incentive trips to help businesses motivate their employees. 

My view on having my own businesses is that I am prepared to take risks to understand the fundamentals of owning and running a business but seeing a niche in the market where the commercials will make sense.  

the idea for SevenTravel came to me during the coronavirus pandemic when I noticed how booking a trip had become a quick and mindless decision. This is a type of travel that is disposable, unsustainable, bad for the planet, and often lacks the enrichment that travel should have. Each time we book a trip with a client that encompasses the opposite fundamental principles, we experience our next big success!

I wanted to bring more of a mindful approach to travel – from choosing the destination, the experience, and learning about local traditions and communities.

  • If any, what challenges have you experienced as a woman entrepreneur during your career?

The challenge for me was not only being a woman in business but also being a British Asian Woman in business. When I started my first venture, I was just 31 years old and in a very competitive space of Corporate Events. This was a mostly male-dominated industry and often I would walk into meetings and people would naturally assume I worked for my now Account Director as I didn’t quite fit the stereotype.

 It would make me laugh, but almost 15 years on I accept that it wasn’t really a hurdle, it’s a compliment, and the fact that I bring diversity to both Events and Luxury Travel is a huge success.  My mantra however, is never underestimate anyone and make judgements based on sex, race, age or business acumen. 

Aside of gender, the biggest challenge by far that I’ve faced has been the pandemic. I felt a huge responsibility to protect my team while navigating the insecurities brought by the unknown of the situation. Thankfully, I am naturally a positive person and take each challenge as a learning opportunity to grow as a businesswoman. Confidence and believing in yourself and your dreams are key factors in overcoming hurdles. 

  • What are the most important values and skills to lead a business such as SevenTravel?

To be able to find our niche in the market and offer a consultative approach to travellers, the main values and skills required are to be selective and targeted. It is tempting to disperse our focus far and wide hoping to reach the right people, but it is key to have a targeted approach and be smart with the time, team, and budget that we have. 

We have decided to be a digital first company for the next three years whilst we build our team of experts and make a name for ourselves in the market. The vision in the long term would be to have specialists across the globe with plans to open an office in the USA in 2024. 

Another value that we all share and cherish at SevenTravel is giving back. We support local partners and ensure that our clients lean towards hotels and resorts that are sustainably focused and independent. Our mission to design luxury milestone trips that help lift the lives of future generations, means that we want to harness the power of travel to have a positive impact. 

We have launched a Positive Future Fund, which supports a trio of charities: Go Beyond, Project Rhino and Upaya Social Ventures. We also donate £50 per person for each trip booked with us to the fund, which is shared equally between our charity partners. We’re also gunning to be net zero by 2035 and are working with a consultancy to help us achieve our goal, focused on reduction strategies first and offsetting only the emissions which are unavoidable.

  • What piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business leaders reading this?

I would sit back and take the time to plan how you are going to achieve your goals and set out an ambitious but realistic roadmap that will help you get there. Goal setting and having a master plan are what help to stay focused and to remind yourself of why and how you will get there. I also believe that everyone possesses leadership qualities and just need a bit of confidence to unleash them. Never give up, believe in yourself and your dreams, and surround yourself with positive like-minded people who also want you to succeed.

About Angelee Rathor, Founder of SevenTravel

Angelee is the founder and managing director of SevenTravel, a company she masterminded in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic with the support of her business partner Bal Sohal, the CEO of SevenCapital. Many people probably thought it was a crazy leap of faith, but Angelee saw an opportunity to create a new type of travel – one that’s more considered, sustainable and designed for the future. Her love for travel began from childhood, with many trips back to India but also discovering many parts of the UK. Since then, she’s loved seeking out new and interesting destinations with culture and adventure at the forefront. Now, she loves seeing countries through the eyes of her two children and so far they’ve explored Singapore, Thailand, Langkawi, Mauritius, Oman and Greece (among many others), with many more memorable family holidays to come.

Angelee has worked with the travel industry for over twelve years thanks to her other business, SevenEvents. Set up in 2009 with a business marketing degree and following in the footsteps of her family’s background in business, Angelee and her team haven’t looked back since. They’ve crafted countless bespoke events for all kinds of industries, both here in the UK and overseas. Now, Angelee is using her forward-thinking mentality to help create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for SevenTravel clients.