Meet The Team

Katie Smith

Katie Smith

Private Travel Consultant

Intro: Having been bitten by the travel bug from a young age, I am always at my happiest when planning my next trip, or helping someone else tick a new destination off their travel bucket list! 

Destinations I love: New Zealand, Bali, California

Properties I love: St Regis Bora Bora (French Polynesia); Eagles Nest (Bay of Islands, New Zealand); COMO Shambala Estate (Bali)

Recently visited: Costa Rica, Tanzania, Morocco, Italy, Ibiza, Estonia, French Polynesia

My tip: Pack light – both your luggage and your itinerary! Take time to carefully plan your trip to make sure you can include your highlights, whilst allowing plenty of time for relaxation and enjoying those local discoveries you weren’t expecting. Learning a few key phrases is always a good idea too - a friendly ‘hello’ goes a long way, whatever the language!

Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson

Private Travel Consultant

My passion for travel led me into the industry in 2003 and I haven’t looked back or stopped exploring since! I’ve now been fortunate to visit over 50 countries, with my recent focus on the Far East where I based myself for 5 years – I loved getting to know the beautiful and diverse countries of the region in more depth, as well as the exciting cities of Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Destinations I love: GreeceVietnam, Thailand, Bali, Italy, New Zealand

Properties I love: Six Senses Con Dao (Vietnam), COMO Shambala Estate (Bali), Trisara (Thailand), Four Seasons The Nam Hai (Vietnam)

Recently visited: GreeceVietnam, Thailand, Bali, Sri Lanka

My tip: Use the highly seasonal pricing of villas and resorts to your advantage and look to travel in the initial or final weeks of ‘shoulder’ season – with rates often half of the adjacent peak season weeks but the weather quite similar, and the extra benefit of quieter resorts and sights.

Vicki Bannister

Vicki Bannister

Private Travel Consultant

Travelling to new destinations and adding more pins to my globe is what really makes my world go round. From the sea to the snow I love beaches, mountains and everything in between! Waking up each day and being able to talk all things travel is a dream come true! I have been fortunate to explore all corners of the earth and meet people from various walks of life. It's a pleasure to now work in a role that enables me to pass on my knowledge & experience.

Destinations I love: Bali, the Alps, Greek Islands, Australia, Budapest & Bruges

Properties I love: The Chedi Club Ubud (Bali), Amangani Utah (USA), Sani Resort (Halkidiki) and Villa Eurydice (Mykonos).

Recently visited: North America, South of France, Cyprus and Rome.

My tip: Stay active and travel healthy! Whether taking a stroll down the beach, tallying up laps in the pool or finding a trail run through the forest it’s great to keep your circulation flowing and also an opportunity to discover the beautiful scenery whilst upping your heart rate.

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly

Director

I have always had a passion for travel and exploring new places. I have been lucky enough to travel to 50 countries and work on five continents, and I love nothing more than sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with our clients. Before joining Oxford Private Travel I spent seven years in Africa working in luxury experiential tourism at some of the top properties on the continent, so I know what it takes to deliver a truly world class travel experience!

Destinations I love: Seychelles, Croatia, Vietnam, India, Kenya

Properties I love: The Brando (French Polynesia), Londolozi Game Reserve (South Africa), Palazzo Avino (Amalfi Coast).

Recently visited: Kenya, Seychelles, South Africa, Croatia, Italy

My tip: Travel is all about experiences and memories. Whilst it’s important to take photos, make sure you also spend time soaking up the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of your destination too!

Tara Bond

Tara Bond

Sales Support & Concierge

Having worked in the private aviation industry for the last 5 years travel is something I have always been interested in and as someone who loves to spend most of their time on holiday laying down in the sun Oxford Private Travel really is my dream job! I now spend my days arranging the personal touches that I feel really make a holiday, whether it be a private dining experience under the stars or a day out on a super yacht, I’m here to help.

Destinations I love: Ibiza, The Maldives and Thailand

Properties I love: One & Only Reethi Rah (Maldives) and Can Dos Rocas (Ibiza)

Recently visited: Ibiza, Malta, Budapest, Mallorca, Greece

My tip: Never go to the same place twice, the world is a big place! Always ask your concierge to recommend the best local restaurants in your destination. We have the insider knowledge of where you can find the best local cuisine... Ask or your taste buds will never forgive you!

Mark Gibbins

Mark Gibbins

Managing Director

My love of travel was born in the mountains. At the age of 19 I chose to escape my stressful chef’s career in London and move to the Swiss Alps. From here my passion for skiing, the mountains and the travel industry grew; hence I chose to forge a career in this industry. For me travel and food go hand in hand. I’m the one you need to befriend for that elusive restaurant reservation.

Destinations I love:
New York City and The Alps.

Properties I love:
Park Hyatt (New York), Delano (Miami) and W Verbier. 

Recently visited:
Dubai, Miami, New York, Verbier, Courchevel and Orlando.

My tip:
Never waste money on bad food. When travelling to a destination speak to the locals and your concierge to find where to make a reservation. Never go for a stroll and hope to get lucky! 

Rupert Longsdon

Rupert Longsdon

Founder & CEO

In fairness I never thought my life would take me to so many wonderful places. Starting The Oxford Ski Company in 1998 was more a love of the mountains and working in the service industry than the skiing aspect. With Oxford Private Travel even more doors have been opened to visit new places. It never ceases to impress me how standards of travel, destinations and experiences across the world continue to evolve and improve.

Destinations I love:
The Alps, Greek Islands and Mexico

Properties I love:
North Island (Seychelles) and Le K2, Courchevel 1850 (French Alps).

Recently visited:
Seychelles, Bali, Antarctica.

My tip:
Use an experienced Agent (of course). It is a false economy trying to do it alone. "Buy cheap, buy twice".

Karen Cabena

Karen Cabena

Ski Hotel Specialist

With a passion for travel, sport and adventure I have been lucky enough to experience the amazing skiing that can be found in Canada & North America as well as Europe. Working for The Oxford Ski Company gives me the perfect opportunity to help our clients experience the same!

Destinations I love:
Lake Louise, Canada, Val d’Isere, France and St Lucia

Properties I love:
W Verbier, Four Seasons Whistler & Hotel Rosa Alpina.

Recently visited:
Colorado (Aspen, Snowmass, Vail & Beaver Creek), Whistler, Canada, Andermatt & Verbier in Switzerland.

My tip:
When skiing in North America & Canada, take advantage of the mountain hosts for free ski guiding.  They are fantastic friendly volunteers who provide some great facts and history on the mountains, as well as taking you to the best slopes for the conditions that day!

Harriet Tetlow

Harriet Tetlow

Senior Travel Consultant | Chalet Specialist

Having never thought of myself as the traveller type, looking back over the places I have visited through my life tells a slightly different story. From sailing off the west coast of Scotland to a horse riding trek through Romania I have enjoyed many parts of the world from different aspects. Truly in my blood however is a passion for all things ski – fresh mountain air, corduroyed pistes and the warmth of a chalet at the end of the day – that’s what I love most.  

Destinations I love:
Val d’Isere and Corfu.

Properties I love:
San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge (Italy) & Chalet Zermatt Peak

Recently visited:
St Moritz, Davos and Klosters, Switzerland.

My tip:
Completely trust your consultant to choose the right property and/or destination for you. Ask them to point out the positives, naturally, but also the negatives (if any!) – that way, you know exactly what to expect and know you are getting truly honest advice.

Saskia Ruskin

Saskia Ruskin

Office Manager and Website Administrator

I love a good holiday, my most recent being a city break in Rome where my favourite part was visiting the Vatican City. Like every other tourist, I went to see the Sistine Chapel and it did not disappoint, I thoroughly recommend the experience. Berlin and New York are also up there on my top holiday stays, there's plenty to learn, see and do especially if you're lucky enough to spend time with some locals.

Destinations I love: Italy, Germany and Spain 

Properties I love: Sandy Lane (Barbados) and Mandarin Oriental (New York)

Recently visited: New York, Rome, Berlin

My tip: Make sure that on the first night you relax and make full use of your accomodation, treat yourself! Plan an itinerary so that you don't miss anything out. I find that it's best to spend the evenings exploring, I've ended up going to comedy nights in New York and the most amazing bars in Berlin that way. I wouldn't have had these experiences had I not talked to people who lived there.

Jenny Goward

Jenny Goward

HR Manager

Exploring different countries and cultures by going on that perfect holiday is what motivates me and I’ve been very lucky to have been able to do a lot of overseas travel. I love spending quality time with family and friends, exploring new destinations and local food/wine.

I am a beginner skier.

Favourite Destinations: Italy, Spain, Greek islands, Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Recently visited: India and Brazil

My Tip: Always take the time to plan your holiday and have an itinerary to ensure that you visit all the places you want to whilst in that country. Make sure you factor in some “down time” to relax and re-charge your batteries as well as sightseeing. The world is a small place these days with air travel so take time to go and explore different places.

Jon Sopher

Jon Sopher

Chairman

I have many years of experience consulting for businesses across all sectors and have been a loyal client of the Oxford Travel Collection throughout that time, so am delighted to be on the team contributing to the continuing success of the operation. I am an avid traveller and an average skier; very much a fair weather person.

I am a skier.

Destinations I love: Val d'Isere, St Anton

Properties I love: Hotel Le Brussels (Val d'Isere), Puerto Pollensa (Mallorca)

Recently visited: Morzine and Val d'Isere

My travel tip: Get yourself a Euro debit card for maximum ease, convenience and security during your holiday.

Joanna Whinney

Joanna Whinney

Marketing Manager

My love of travel started like so many lucky graduates…a backpack, a rough guide and a Round the World ticket. From my early days of solo travel with a thirst to explore the unknown, a summer season working in Positano on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, tailormaking bespoke holidays for an independent travel company to marketing a fabulous collection of Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Arabian hotels I have always been driven by the shear wonder of the destinations we have in this world.  

Destinations I love: Italy, Saint Lucia and San Francisco

Properties I love: Jade Mountain, Carlisle Bay and The Fairmont Royal Pavilion

Recently visited: Barbados, Mexico, Mallorca and Antigua

My tip: Always pack your swimwear in your hand luggage. If God forbid your luggage didn’t arrive when you do, you can always go for that all important first holiday swim!

Grace Scott

Grace Scott

Social Media & PR Consultant

Destinations I love: Indonesia, Bali.

Properties I love: The COMO ShambalaPoggio alle Corti.

Recently visited: Amalfi Coast, Bali.

My tip: Brush up on your iPhone photography skills and clear your phone memory prior to travel, to free up your storage and make sure you capture as many of your holiday memories as possible.

Jitendra Shetty

Jitendra Shetty

Finance Director

Straight from university, I launched my career in finance in the luxury travel and tourism sector, and after 26 years in this industry I am still passionate about what I do.

Destinations I love: The Maldives and Turks & Caicos.

Properties I love: Parrot Cay, Castell son Claret & Cliveden House.

Recently visited: Mumbai, London.

My tip: If you are open-minded about your destination, why not call on our team with your Wish List, and let them propose some outside-the-box options for a new experience and an eye-opening adventure.

Saffron

Saffron

Border Terrier

I hold a pretty important role within the company and that is ensuring the other canines here tow the line; as the bosses dog I feel that this is my duty. Outside of that, I pretty much just sleep. 

I am a dog.

Owner:
Mark Gibbins

Favourite spot:
My bed, obviously. 

Favourite time of day:
Breakfast time and 5 minutes of madness running around in circles. 

Party Trick:
Not sure I have one....unless looking darn cute is a trick!

Bertie

Bertie

Cocker Spaniel

I am always happy, life is so good! I seem to attract a lot of attention too – maybe it’s my extra long lashes? I have been at Oxford Ski since I was 9 weeks old, but they still won’t let me answer that thing that rings all the time. 

I am a dog.

Owner:
Harriet Tetlow

Favourite spot:
Bed, but only if Sergei the meerkat comes with me.

Favourite time of day:
Greeting everyone in the mornings.

Party Trick:
Giving high fives!

About Oxford Private Travel

We are not just another ‘luxury tour operator’ or booking website. We are a small team, are young, friendly and passionate about travel. We know the next best thing, the current trends and our personal relationship with clients enables us to continually manage and update our portfolio based on our returning guests’ feedback.

Essentially we are human beings; we’d love you to look around our site and gain some inspiration, but ultimately, let’s talk. Tell us what you love, what you hate, what’s on your wish list and we’ll design your next luxury holiday in the greatest of detail.