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Founder of Spabreaks.com named finalist for inaugural female travel awards

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Abi Wright, the co-founder and managing director of Spabreaks.com, has been named as a finalist at the inaugural everywoman in Travel Awards.

Wright, who founded the online spa booking service in 2008, is one of three women to have been shortlisted for the awards’ entrepreneur category.

Within 10 years, Wright has taken Spabreaks.com from a two-person business to a company employing more than 100 members of staff, managing 6,000 enquiries a week, and hitting a turnover of more than £20m last year.

The 2017 everywoman in Travel Awards will select winners across six categories. The Entrepreneur award will be given to an owner/operator of a travel business who has been operating for three years or more, and whose “vision will inspire other women to start their own enterprise”.

Organised by everywoman – a membership organisation championing the advancement of women in business – the awards have been set up to celebrate women in the travel industry.

According to figures quoted by everywoman, 72 per cent of all travel agents are women, yet only 33 per cent of leadership roles at travel organisations are occupied by women. Female representation in the boardroom is even lower, with an estimated five to eight per cent of corporate board member roles being held by women.

“We have selected some of the most talented women currently working in the UK’s travel industry and are confident their success stories will be a true inspiration to the next generation,” said Karen Gill MBE, co-founder of everywoman.

“What makes this group of women truly unique is the diversity of talent they represent across the whole sector.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 16 November.

The full list of finalist for the 2017 everywoman in Travel Awards:

One to Watch

Awarded to a young game-changer in education or an apprenticeship who demonstrates a passion for the travel industry:

Ellie Barton, apprentice, Hays Travel from Darlington

Albane Grimprel, business student, GEM (Grenoble Ecole de Management) from London

Sylvana Walsh, customer and owner service advisor, Hoseasons from Lowestoft

Tomorrow’s Leader

Awarded to a woman under 30 making a significant contribution to the sector.

Rebecca Hipkin, travel support team leader, Intrepid Group from London

Sophie Holtom, business services manager, arrangeMY from Worcester

Jillian Jackson, loyalty & partnerships executive, Hilton from Glasgow

Entrepreneur

Awarded to an owner/operator of a travel business that has been operating for three years or more, whose vision will inspire other women to start their own enterprise.

Jessica Bain, co-founder and head of Trade Relations, Latin Routes, from Surrey

Mary McKenna, managing director, Tour America, from Dublin

Abi Wright, co-founder and managing director, Spabreaks.com, from Newbury, London

Above & Beyond

Awarded to a woman at any stage of her career that has truly gone above and beyond her role to help drive the organisation's success.

Susan Boxall, customer service executive, Kuoni Travel, from Dorking

Wendi Knibbs, global sales evolution Specialist, Hilton, from Watford

Karen Morris, global operations director, Travel Counsellors, from Manchester

Team Leader

Awarded to a woman whose team leadership has greatly contributed to the organisation’s success.

Anna Macleod, business travel manager, arrangeMY, from Worcester

Sacha Peters, head of marketing, Ski Solutions, from London

Angela Terry, contact centre manager, TUI, from Swansea

Leader

Awarded to a woman making a significant contribution to the strategic direction of the business.

Wendy Atkin-Smith, managing director, Viking Cruises UK, from London

Lindsey Esse, managing director, Darwin Escapes, from Oxford

Helen Caron, distribution & cruise director, TUI, from Luton.

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Abi Wright, the co-founder and managing director of Spabreaks.com, has been named as a finalist at the inaugural everywoman in Travel Awards.
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