We continue our SITE GB Young Leaders spotlight series, with an interview with Odette Peel, founder & director of ODP Travel, a boutique luxury travel and event management agency with a social purpose at its core. Prior to setting up her own business, Odette worked at a several agencies including Quintessentially and WRG Live and is passionate about using travel as a force for good by making a difference and leaving positive footprints wherever possible.
How long have you been involved with SITE GB young leaders?
I officially joined SITE GB young leaders in 2020, after an industry peer recommended me to join. It sounded like a great likeminded community of event professionals dedicated to the incentive travel market.
What are the benefits for developing incentive professionals who get involved?
The networking opportunities in SITE GB are a bonus for any developing professional. It’s a great community to be part of and you’ll likely meet a lot of inspirational peers you can learn from, perhaps a mentor or even a future client/employer. Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put it. To make the most of these benefits, I’d recommend attending as many SITE GB events as you can and be open to speaking to new people, you never know who you might meet.
You launched your own business during the pandemic – why did you decide to take the plunge and what’s your USP?
Like many industry professionals, I was made redundant at the beginning of the pandemic which turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. Being made redundant gave me the luxury of time to reflect on my career, the past, but also the future and what I wanted that to look like. I didn’t want to ‘wait’ for an opportunity to come along so I decide to create the opportunity for myself, by way of setting up my own company.
ODP Travel is a purpose driven company created to combine three inspiring aspects of life: people, places, and experiences. Simply put, we create tailor-made travel experiences, in extraordinary places for people with a high regard for value, service and time. Our main USP is that social purpose is at the core of why we do what we do. We thrive to make travel more accessible to those without the means to, one of these ways is through our ‘Make a Difference’ programme for less privileged children. We are also on hand to advise our clients on ways they can travel more responsibly and encouraging them to leave positive footprints wherever they travel.
The thing I most love about working in events and incentives is…
I love tailor-making lasting memories for clients. Being onsite and able to witness guests experience something wonderful for the very first time is a truly special vantage point. Many guests haven’t had such exclusive experiences before, but through the recognition of their hard work, their company rewards them with an incentive trip which no doubt leaves a lasting memory.
As international incentives recover post-pandemic, what changes are you seeing in terms of client demands?
It has been fascinating to watch the changes appear and evolve during the recovery of incentive travel and I’ve even noticed trends based on the industry of certain clients. There definitely is an appetite to travel internationally again. Some clients still want to err on the side of caution when mixing in large groups, I’ve had clients request to run incentive trips in smaller groups, either back-to-back or simultaneously across different locations. This no doubt calls for precision logistics management from a planner’s side, but that’s the stuff I love and it’s just fantastic to see the appetite to travel internationally again. The world is our oyster again.
What destinations are popular with your incentive clients right now?
Portugal, Morocco & Dubai have been a popular choice recently.
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
Oh, that’s a tough question for a travel enthusiast to answer. I do have a short list of three places I’m trying to visit this year. This includes a road trip through Portugal (North to South), sailing in the Maldives and stargazing in Namibia.
When I’m not working, I’m most likely to be…
Believe it or not, I’m most likely to be travelling or planning to travel in my spare time. I genuinely love exploring all corners of our globe and experiencing the array of delights travelling brings. My suitcase stays packed and ready to go.