The Autumn 2023 Tennis Holiday Season Begins

The Autumn 2023 Tennis Holiday Season Begins

After a busy summer period with Tennis Clinics across the UK, our team was very excited to escape the wet UK summer and jet off to one of our fabulous destinations. With trips departing from the 2nd September it’s all hands on deck. Have a read on to find out what’s going on this Autumn at Active Away.

Moving Parts

Before the Tennis Holidays begin, we start by amassing quite the range of equipment. From tennis balls, to canvas bags, marketing literature and even luggage tags – there is a lot of gear! Based on our current bookings we schedule enough equipment to be in our various resorts and have a fun day of packing to make sure it’s all there. We tend to travel with the equipment ourselves to make sure it’s there – can you imagine what a Tennis Vacation would be like without balls?!

One of the exciting new parts of our equipment arsenal is our new tennis ball basket. We’ve found that the existing metal ones we use only have a very limited lifespan before the nuts and bolts fall off and they become unusable. We explored various options and now have our ‘trolley bags.’ These have Active Away branding on them as well as having wheels and an easy remove carry bag. This will allow for simple storage, lightweight travel and brand exposure whilst in our resorts. We know our coaches have been asking about this for a long time and are excited to have them on court with us this Autumn. Let us know what you think!

We know how popular our canvas bags are – available as a prize for winning one of our various end of week awards and we’ve made sure we’ve got plenty of those in resort as well. The other question we’ve had recently has been ‘I’d love to purchase one’ or ‘where can I get some Active Away branded goodies?’ So we launched the Active Away Shop. This enables our members to purchase an Active Away branded item shipped directly to their home.

New Active Away Ball Baskets
Active Away Water Bottle

Airport Transfers

Going on a tennis vacation should all be about the tennis! To make sure it gets off to the perfect start we ensure the Airport Transfer process is as smooth as possible. We don’t offer flights as part of the package at Active Away, which relinquishes an element of control over Airport Transfers. As such we put the onus on our clients providing correct information and have a member of the Active Away team on hand to make sure the process is as smooth as possible.

We collect the data directly from our Airport Transfer form which will automatically update a client’s booking. Then, in late August 2023 we will export all of the data to create our transfer lists for each resort. These are then shared with our hosts, airport transfer suppliers as well as in the WhatsApp groups to ensure that everyone is on the same page with arrival and departure times. Any updates follow the same process and we are always there in the background.

The huge benefit to Active Away managing your transfer for you is that you always have a direct point of contact. Your host will normally be there to greet you on arrival at your destination airport and acts as a ‘safety net’ should your flight be late or the airport transfer supplier lets us down. We’ve spent a lot of time in airports and have found some very disgruntled (not Active Away) passengers where the transfer hasn’t turned up or there is a 2 hour long taxi queue. When discussing this with our team we often say ‘people won’t see the value until things go wrong’ – and this is so true. To share one super quick story – I was hosting a trip to Costa Navarino in 2019. The Airport for Costa Navarino is ‘Kalamata’ which is a small airport and isn’t well served – actually at this point there was one Thomas Cook flight to Birmingham each week. On departure, unfortunately one of our clients mistakenly left their passport at the hotel and the transfer driver spoke very little English. This could have been a costly disaster, but due to our quick communication with the hotel and transfer company – we were able to save the day and the client made the flight. I do often wonder how that would have played out if the booking had been with a huge Tour Operator – or even an individual booking.

Some of the 2019 Costa Navarino Group
The Costa Navarino Courts (these are now Padel)!

Tennis Coaches

This Autumn our coaches will take over 100 flights! From internal hops to very lengthy journeys – this all has to be very carefully planned. My colleague Matt (our Director of Tennis) does an outstanding job of planning this well in advance. With our recently updated coach onboarding process we believe we have one of our strongest teams across the board.

Once a tennis coach makes it through our rigorous selection process it’s then over to Matt to put the jigsaw puzzle of coaches together. We have to think about lots of different questions from “How will this team work together?” to “What is this particular coach’s strength?” and even “How travel efficient is this journey?” Without Matt’s years of experience this could be a complete disaster – however time and time again Matt is able to produce high quality teams in an efficient manner.

For a Tennis Coach joining us on a tennis vacation, there is still a lot to think about before arriving in the resort. We encourage our hosts to have a quick ‘pre-trip call’ to make sure that everyone is aligned with their role on the holiday. Then it’s about excellent preparation, making sure they read the detailed literature we send out to the coaches before they arrive in the resort. Thinking back to our early days – we often used to have coaches arrive late at night and be on court the next morning with only a quick breakfast meeting. Now we feel very confident that the coach has been given everything they need to deliver an incredible experience. We want to put all of our colleagues in a position where they are able to succeed.

Finn with a group in Liberty Lykia
Marie-Lou in action!

The 5 P’s

Prior preparation prevents poor performance.

This is a mantra that our back office team live by. From booking restaurants, tennis courts and finalising itineraries we work hard to ensure that every detail is taken care of so that everything runs smoothly.

One of the big challenges from a back-end perspective is last minute bookings. I’m writing this blog in early September and if we received a booking tonight for next week, we pretty much drop everything and try to accommodate that client. Tracy (Administration Manager) works hard to confirm a room with the hotel (which can be difficult at the last minute), then Matt may need to schedule a new coach, we may then need to update the court bookings, Sophie (Communications Executive) will request the transfer information and finally we will update the various lists and inform the host. It’s all a little frenetic – but the main priority is welcoming that person on the holiday and giving them the best experience possible.

I’m a real ‘process person’ and love when our colleagues can feel empowered to do their job to the best of their ability. My recent favourite was receiving a message from Sophie whilst hosting a trip in Ikos Aria this spring. Sophie said: “Hi Josh, please can you make sure you write a handwritten note and organise a birthday cake as you have a birthday this week!” How good is that!

A Team Training day at the Olympic Studios, London

The Fun Bit

When I describe my hosting role within Active Away to friends or acquaintances, I often get a raised eyebrow – they can’t quite believe that’s a real job! It’s certainly the most enjoyable element of what I do with Active Away – meeting lovely people, in beautiful destinations and creating memories that last a lifetime.

A big part of my life has been spent on a tennis court and at times this has become a little ‘too intense.’ Now, I love being on the court. I’m starved of coaching, so when I’m away hosting our trips it feels so fresh and exciting. I love our programme and the fact that all of our coaches are handpicked. Our clients want to listen and engage. It’s just the perfect recipe for someone who loves tennis.

I’ve been fortunate enough to host a lot of our trips at Ikos Aria, and that’s where I’ll be again this September/October. The huge benefit of Ikos Resorts is the variety of a la carte restaurants, which means we try a different cuisine every evening! From snails to octopus – there’s so many incredible things I’ve tried (that I never would normally order) because we have the freedom to do so. Combine this with dining with our fabulous clients and colleagues – I have the most incredible memories that will last me a lifetime. Yes, this is my job as a host!!

A Note to all Clients and Colleagues

I hope you are all as excited as I am for the upcoming Tennis Holiday season. With circa 600 guests and 40 different coaches we are ready for the most incredible experiences.

One of our core values is to ‘create lasting memories’ and I really hope we are able to share some brilliant moments together on our trips. I’ll personally be in Kos, but I look forward to seeing all of the different photos and videos posted on our various social media channels.

If it’s your first time with Active Away – I hope your experience is similar to my first time; a recipe of fun, making new friends and outstanding tennis.

If you have any comments about your trip, I’d love to hear them – my email is; josh@activeaway.com and I respond to every email I receive.

2023 is our 17th year of hosting tennis vacations – and we want to make sure it’s our best. The preparation is done. The resorts are ready. The sun is shining. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Our wonderful team!

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