Based in Benfleet

Hilary Alexander

Looking for help with your business travel? Find out how I can help here

It's Nice To Meet You

Hi and welcome to my Travel Counsellors webpage.

I have almost 29 years of experience in the travel industry, in a variety of roles from airline reservations, airport ticket desk, leisure and most recently (for the last 12 years) business travel - both corporate (on the Morgan Stanley Roadshows team) and in entertainment (on EMI and Universal music accounts).

I have gained a wealth of on the job experience over the years working in different areas of the industry, but I have also gained a great deal from my own personal travel experiences from walking the Great Wall of China, Kenyan safaris, swimming with turtles in Barbados, trekking the rainforest in St Lucia and sampling the delights of the wine route in Capetown - to name but a few!

One thing that has remained consistent throughout is my passion for customer service. I will always go the extra mile for my customers and I am always available at the end of the phone day or night.

I can discuss your trip at a time convenient for you (including evenings and weekends) so that you will receive a truly personal experience.

With the help of Travel Counsellors award winning technology I am able to uniquely package holidays at competitive rates searching from over 400 approved suppliers. This means you get the best deal while saving you the time and hassle of various internet searches.

I can also handle all your business travel requirements from flights and hotels to car hire and trains. I am quite used to travellers whose plans change constantly, even en-route (after my time on the roadshow desk) and also very familiar with handling very specific requests (after looking after arrangements for famous artists).

Whatever your requirements just let me know and I will do my utmost to help make your trip everything you want it to be and hopefully more!

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Contact Me

Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact details on and I can get things started for you:

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My Blog

I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.

Financial Protection explained.

13 June 2018

Booking a holiday and then counting down the days until you can set that ‘out of office’ on your work email account is one of the most exciting times of the year, isn’t it? We look forward to making those memories for so long. But how protected are you? And how much do you really know about it? Having the peace of mind that no matter what, your holiday is safe is priceless and it’s not something you can find everywhere. But the minefield of financial protection is not easily negotiated so we’re trying to make it clearer to help preserve your precious holiday funds. Why do I need to worry about financially protecting my holiday? In short, if you don’t and something happens to one of the companies involved in your trip, you could lose out. If you’ve booked a package holiday, your holiday is financially protected. If you’ve booked your flight and accommodation separately and one of the companies fails, you could end up in a situation where you’re having to pay for an alternative flight or accommodation. Even if you book accommodation with a travel agent, if they fail, you could end up losing your money and be left without your hotel room. Your holiday insurance isn’t fail-safe either, as it isn’t guaranteed to cover a travel company going bust. Read on to understand more about the financial protection available for your holiday… What are the different types of financial protection? ATOL ABTA Section 75 Insurance Independent protection What is ATOL? The Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) regime is a financial protection scheme for holidaymakers regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In the UK, all travel companies selling package holidays with flights must hold an ATOL. If the company isn’t registered in the UK, they aren’t legally required to hold an ATOL and you might find you aren’t as covered as you thought. And unfortunately, by that stage, it’s probably too late. If a travel company with an ATOL stops trading, the ATOL scheme protects all customers who had booked with that company. If the company goes into administration before you travel, your money is protected, and you’ll be able to apply for a full refund. If you’re on holiday when the travel company goes bust, the ATOL scheme guarantees you’ll be able to finish your holiday and return home. When you book a protected holiday, you’ll receive an ATOL certificate as soon as you pay for your trip. The certificate explains how you’re protected and what to do in the event of a company collapsing. If the company is a registered member, you’ll spot the ATOL logo and a four or five-digit number on their website and in brochures and adverts. (You can also check that the company is an accredited member of ATOL on the Civil Aviation Authority’s website) My travel agent is an ABTA Agent. What is ABTA? If you’ve booked a package holiday from an ABTA agent, your money is protected. However, you might not be financially protected if you haven’t booked a package holiday. You will need to speak with your travel agent if you are relying on this level of protection. I paid for my holiday using my credit card. If the travel company goes bust can I claim through my credit card provider? (Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974) If you’ve booked your trip and have paid on your credit card, you might be able to make a claim against your credit card company. This claim is under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, so you might hear people talk about “section 75”. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 applies to goods and services paid for with your credit card and includes online bookings. If you’ve paid for your travels using your credit card, it means that you can claim against the creditor, which in this case is the credit card company. To make a claim against your credit card provider, the amount you’re claiming for must be between £100 and £30,000. However, you may still be able to make a claim if the amount on your credit card is less (a deposit, for example) as the claim against the credit card provider is directed at the total cost of your trip. One Travel Counsellor helped a group of 25 when the travel company they booked their holiday with went into administration: “They thought all was lost as they had planned a Christmas in the sun and after my advice they have instigated section 75 on their credit cards.” If you paid using a debit card, you may be able to use chargeback to claim some or all the money back. You will need to contact your card provider and speak to them about your claim. Doesn’t my travel insurance cover me if the company I’ve booked with goes into administration? Not every travel insurance policy will cover you if a company goes bust, so it’s best to read the small print and check with your travel insurance provider. It’s also worth checking whether the provider will cover you for the whole holiday if you’ve booked your flights, accommodation and car hire separately. As an example, you might find that your travel insurance will cover you if the airline goes into administration but that you can’t claim for a refund on your accommodation or car hire. If you’ve booked through Travel Counsellors, your holiday is 100% financially protected so your money is safe. In the event of an issue, your personal Travel Counsellor will contact you to discuss the options available, such as travelling to a different destination or changing your flights to another airline carrier. In many cases, our customers don’t even need to know when a company has gone bust – we just do the necessary work behind the scenes. Is my money 100% safe when booking with Travel Counsellors? Yes. And it’s the highest level of protection you could wish for because it’s fully independent. Set up in 2004, it sits alongside our ATOL cover and financially protects every part of every trip, whether it be the whole holiday, a flight, hotel stay, car hire or even airport parking. It’s completely robust meaning no matter what happens, your money is safe.

Canouan - The Pink Sands Club

10 July 2017

Last week (June 2017) I was incredibly fortunate to spend a week in the Caribbean and a few of those days spent on a tiny island in the Grenadines called Canouan. The island is very small and has a population of just around 2000! It stretches 3.5miles by 4.25miles and is most definitely the Caribbean's best kept secret! We arrived to Canouan on Grenadine Airways on a small 16 seater aircraft. While not for the faint hearted, I have to admit (afterwards) it was an incredible experience. There are daily flights from Barbados and St Lucia and depending how many stops they make en-route at other islands, the journey takes around an hour in total. If budget permits however, there is also a luxury private jet service. The Pink Sands Club (formally Raffles) is part of the Canouan estate, and is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and is truly one of the world's most exclusive destinations, a real millionaires paradise! The hotel has One Bedroom Suites, One Bedroom Penthouses and Two Bedroom Suites as well as Lagoon Villas. The supposedly "lead in" room type, the One Bedroom Suite is just simply breathtaking! For a lead-in (or any room type to be honest) it is simply stunning, pure unimaginable luxury! The penthouses and villas are just incredible!) It is not a hotel room but more a millionaires own home! An apartment with hallway, bedroom, bathroom dining/lounge area as well as a conservatory area and our glass doors that open out onto the most amazing untouched, deserted, picturesque beach imaginable. There was a wall at the end of our bed which was a mirror and was also the TV (in the mirror) and as if that was not impressive enough, at the touch of a remote control the entire wall disappears and you can see the view out to the sea (see my video below). The food was incredible, several restaurants and each one incredibly opulent and the food, service and ambience faultless. The room comes with a golf buggy for our use to tour the island. From the top most point the views are incredible! The most charming thing about this Island are the tortoises (hence the name "Canouan" as the Island was originally occupied by groups of Amerindians travelling north from the South American mainland. Its name is derived from the Arawakan word "Cannoun", meaning turtle or turtle island. Being a huge tortoise/turtle fan this was simply heaven for me! My dream destination! At around 4.30pm each day, out they all come and you can see several along the road as you drive along. They are beautiful creatures with orange paws and are very shy and do tend to hide in their shells when approached. There are also opportunities to snorkel with turtles if you take a catamaran half or full day tour to neighbouring Islands including Union Island and Mustique. There are breathtaking beaches such as shell beach where the turquoise ocean is crystal clear. Whilst sun-bathing on the beach we saw a huge stingray just swim right past us at the edge of the water! Just incredible! Driving along the Island you see dogs roaming freely as well as chickens, goats, lizards and of course Tortoises. The resort was virtually deserted while we were there, very few people and felt as if we were indeed the only ones there. If this appeals to you to feel as though you are the only ones on a deserted island (like me!) then this is definitely the place for you! (although expect it to be busier during Xmas, Easter etc. but even then there are only 26 suites and 6 villas so it will never feel like there are many people around even when at full capacity! The hotel is soon to be rebranded as a Mandarin Oriental Hotel I believe by the end of 2017. There is even an incredible kids club with Playstations and lots of other facilities. The saddest part of our stay was when the time came for us to leave this beautiful paradise after such a short time. I wish our time there could have been longer and experienced more but there's always next time! I just have to work pretty hard to make sure I make it back there one day! But somehow I assure you I will!

My customer stories

Sent by Michelle Harvey

Hilary has amazing knowledge in the travel industry. Also nothing is too much trouble for her, she makes sure that you get the holiday of your dreams. Would highly recommend her

Sent by Michelle Silver

Hilary had a difficult task as planning a group booking for Thailand, with families flying from USA and UK. She handled all our requirements (seemingly) effortlessly, and nothing was too much trouble. We're all so excited about the amazing itinerary she's recommended. Thank you again Hilary!

Sent by Joanne Burns

Just want to write and say how fantastic from start to finish your service has been. Our whole trip and all your recommendations were fabulous. The service you provided from the airline, to the transfers , excursions booked and hotel choices were tip top. I wouldn’t hesitate to use you again and recommend you. Thank you for all your patience and professionalism. Regards Joanne

Sent by Ros Wells

We’ve had an amazing time here, again. James & Kate have loved it too! And thank you for our bottle of bubbly yesterday which we had before dining at the tepinyaki restaurant last night- so kind of you. Many thanks for looking after all our arrangements again & with such quality service.

Sent by Grant Noble

Great customer service, fast and took away all the stress!

Sent by Kurtis Lipman

Incredibly helpful and supportive - gave us time and effort to book our perfect holiday

Sent by Karen Marcelis

Excellent, fast and helpful customer service. Hilary was polite, professional and I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a holiday

Sent by Ian Smith

Without hesitation - I would recommend Hilary to all my friends, family and colleagues. She is without doubt the most professional travel person I have dealt with. Her attention to detail is perfect and there are no if's, but's or maybe's - she just gets it right first time.

Sent by Morag Finch

Hilary was very helpful and responsive including over the Christmas period when she, herself, was on leave .

Sent by Jacqueline Jacobs

I found Hilary Alexander to be pleasant, helpful and nothing was too much for her to help me with planning this trip. I would recommend her to everyone I know.

Sent by Andy Watmore

Hilary is amazing and always saves us money on our trips. She is also extremely knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.

Sent by Karen Miller

Always available to help with even the most obscure/ stupid questions. We have used Hilary a number of times - so that's the best recommendation one can make.

Sent by Amanda Pelham

Hilary has been very attentive. She has really listened to what I wanted to achieve and never gave up trying to find a solution. She was always punctual and reliable in coming back to us. I would thoroughly recommend Hilary's services.

Sent by Karen Miller

Hilary has helped us before to sort flights/ hotels etc and what I really appreciate, and why I would always recommend her, is that she researches things so quickly and proficiently. Basically, what she doesn't know immediately - she will find out. Super, bespoke service. Thank you.

Sent by Maria Messenger

This is the 2nd time we have booked with Hilary and the service is 110% we will no longer be booking our own holidays

Sent by Mark Mailer

Hilary has been not only patient but thoughtful and really understood and helped us make a decision about our holiday - despite a very broad scope! Ultimately, she's made what can be a minefield of information into a painless process.

Sent by Shelley Jones

Hilary was very helpful and efficient. She listened to our requirements and proposed a holiday that met these requirements.

Sent by Rosalind Wells

Excellent service, lovely lady! Will be back for future holiday bookings.

Sent by Garfield Charles

I found Hilary to be patient, informative and overall very polite. It is a blessing to be able to consult with someone who not only has up to date information but is also prepared to go the extra mile to ensure that the customer is satisfied. Very pleasurable experience.

Sent by Jacqui Jalland

Hilary worked very hard, listening and acting upon all our requests. She made it an enjoyable experience finding our dream holiday at the right price. Of course I would recommend her to family and friends.

Sent by Steve Brice

Service provided by Hilary was excellent. Both myself and my partner have passed her details to friends and colleagues and Hilary is looking into another holiday for us later this year.