Welcome to our new member – WorkandTravel.ie
Interview with Dearbhla O’Brien, Founder / CEO
Tell us your story. How did WorkandTravel.ie get started?
In keeping with my own persona WorkandTravel.ie is more of an UPSTART than a start up! After almost 20 years of experience in the Student and Youth Market, it was time to do it for myself. In truth, it also just felt right; the right time and the next logical step.
WorkandTravel.ie was officially born in July 2019 when 2 former CEOs of Usit came together to form Ireland’s most competitive answer to what has been a pretty closed market for Work Abroad Programmes for young people in Ireland.
It was 2010 when we last worked together, following which, Aidan Coghlan took the helm at World Travel Centre. Today World Travel Centre has a turnover of €220m and we are delighted to have them on board as an equity and business partner. This partnership ensures customers have access to a combination of fabulous work abroad opportunities such as J1, Internship, Camp Counsellor Programmes, Working Holiday Visas to Australia and Canada, together with the best discounted flights worldwide.
What makes WorkandTravel.ie different from your competitors?
Given that we are born of this time, we don’t have the traditional retail infrastructure of our competitors (although we do have a walk-in office in Dublin City Centre).
This, coupled with our online model, access to the lowest priced fares and excellent land product, means we can offer superb value for money and are not driven by the traditionally high margins needed by our competitors.
Ultimately and most importantly, it means that the young consumer wins by having great programmes at affordable prices, without having to buy unnecessary and compulsory extras.
Plus, we are customer-intimate and have the luxury of being able to be real as opposed to simply transactional with people.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
Our best stories are yet to be made but to date I can say that it lies with our people and our partners. We have been overwhelmed by the vibe and energy of the people who work with us and who want to work with us.
It is refreshing to see so many young people that have come through the programmes we offer such as Camp USA and Camp Canada, who also want others to have the same life changing experiences that they have had.
What can we expect to see from WorkandTravel.ie in the future?
So much… We are beyond excited by the possibilities that exist both within and outside of our initial offerings. New programmes, new adventures, creating markets for activities that have not been considered before… the possibilities are endless. We believe as many young people as possible should have access to opportunities to grow and expand via living, learning and working abroad for a while.
Which trends do you see in educational and active youth travel?
It’s the same fundamentals that have always been there, just accessed and communicated differently. Young people have always craved real experiences, a feeling of getting their hands in the clay of a destination, working, eating, cooking, living like a local and speaking their language. The difference today is that they buy that experience via their mobile phone (not a shop) and communicate it on Instagram. These travel abroad experiences reflect their own personal brand and their values. The more unique these experiences are, the more kudos is given to their own personal brand. I’m also seeing the desire to be of service to others and to leave the world a better place as a trend that I hope never goes out of fashion.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with WorkandTravel.ie?
With 20 years of experience in sending young people abroad we have, by default, faced crisis situations involving health and safety. Therefore, this is at the forefront of our minds and why we only work with reputable insurers and partners. We also carry out extensive vetting and pre-travel education. This is one area in which we never cut corners.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
As CEO of Usit, I have been a member of WYSE for 19 years so with WorkAndTravel.ie, this will be my 20th year. During that time, I also chaired the board of the WYSE Work Abroad Association, so I know only too well the value that the Confederation brings. For WorkandTravel.ie, membership is a given and we wouldn’t contemplate not being part of this fabulous community and family. Working as a collective brings tremendous strength when negotiating for the wider picture, a benefit that serves the individual member ultimately.
Have you attended a WYSE Travel Confederation event?
This will be my 20th WYSTC (is there an award for that???) and I have attended numerous WETM-IAC conferences also. It is the ideal and most efficient way to catch up with partners and to form new partnerships. It helps that the events are always full of interesting people!
Join WYSE Travel Confederation
If you’d like to join WYSE Travel Confederation and benefit from new connections, free access to industry research, informative webinar sessions, discounts on industry events and brand exposure within the youth and student travel industry, click below to view our membership options and find out more.