Hello and welcome, my name is Ian Gifford, I live in Chalgrove, near Oxford with my wife Barbara. We have been here for eight years having lived and worked all over the UK. We love this location’s because of the friendly village community and the fantastic links to the world, with Heathrow only 40 minutes away.
My Dad encouraged my passion for travel from a very early age, taking me on exciting day trips to London, although I can still remember being too terrified to climb the ladder at the top of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral!!
As a teenager, I just wanted to see the world. I completed cycling tours to the West Country and organised school walking tours that led to running a New Forest Youth Hostel. My early career in Hospitality ensured a strong appreciation for food and wine, which included running our own hotel and restaurant, that is why I feel local food and drink is an exciting part of travel.
Customer Service is part of my passion, going the extra mile, delivering the unexpected, I have achieved this when organising wedding receptions on Bournemouth Pier or a 30th Wedding Anniversary in the Maldives including a celebratory dinner on a sandbank. It is all about providing the end-to-end service and doing the unexpected.
In the Corporate Business arena, I have arranged events for companies including elaborate dining in unusual locations, an amazing firework display and made sure guests got to a World Cup match when all flights were cancelled due to an airport closure.
Identifying my favourite destinations is a challenge, however, seeing leaping Mantra Rays off the Pacific coast of Mexico was amazing, and the rustic village restaurant in Pergine Valdarno, Tuscany provided a uniquely warm feeling with other unforgettable experiences such as Samaria Gorge in Crete at dawn, skiing in powder at Verbier, Golf in the Algarve or watching a Grand Prix in Malaysia.
Whether it is advising a restaurant on a client’s food allergies or organising a private tour in Rome, making sure your travel plans are exactly how you want them is vital. It is my responsibility to ensure you have first class service, before, during and following your trip
I am here to help, at times convenient to you, some of my clients have been in different time zones and I have planned calls at midnight before now, so if it is better for you to talk in the evenings or at weekends, that is fine with me. I look forward to talking with you soon.
Sent in by Maryam Rowhani
Doha, Qatar, 15 February 2017
We received Excellent services from Ian. Ian was very patient with me when planning my two week last minute holiday with my husband, and is very diligent at his work. He was highly responsive and available for questions, and very attentive to my needs and last minutes changes of plan as well. It always seems he works around the clock - which is something to greatly appreciate! Another crucial point is that he is very conscious of cost, which is rare to find. Thank you for a fantastic holiday!
Sent in by Joanne Smith
Wallingford, 12 September 2016
As a family business it's often a challenge to balance work and home life. When our daughter Mabel decided that a 'once in a lifetime' trip to Costa Rica and the USA would be the highlight of her gap year, we wanted to help her with her plans, but quite honestly didn't know where to start. This is where your advice and excellent knowledge and network in the travel industry has proved to be invaluable; both to reassure me, as a parent, and also to give Mabel the confidence to explore parts of the world she had only ever dreamed of visiting. Your contacts in Central America gave her real confidence that she was choosing the right destinations, your negotiating skills and knowledge of available deals meant that you were able to deliver more for the budget than she expected or thought possible. She was particularly impressed with how quickly you came back to her with suggestions and deals and also how accommodating you were in finding time to discuss or explain them - often in the evening or over the weekend. You were also extremely thorough in your research and the level of detail you provided. Finally, the personal service and care you took to explain your suggestions both in detail on email, but also over the phone, made a great impression and helped her immensely in making some big decisions. We are all really excited about her trip and confident that it will be a great success. Thanks for all your help and Iwould not hesitate to recommend you to friends, family and colleagues.
Sent in by Suellen West
Washington D.C., 12 April 2016
Ian Gifford was fantastic to work with. I am located in the US. Ian was available, had fabulous follow up, and was very knowledgeable about the US & European travel. I felt like I was his only client! I will certainly use Ian & Travel Counsellors in the future
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Contact me on 01865 987 310