Wendy is a mum of 3, an award winning mumpreneur, traveller and the visionary energy behind Tots to Travel, a fast growing business whose unique approach provides stress-free holidays for families with babies and toddlers. Wendy and her team believe that holidays are fundamental to making families stronger and that business can be a strong force for good by making positive impacts in the world.
The story began after Wendy’s two-year-old son Barnaby fell into an unenclosed swimming pool whilst on holiday; she identified an opportunity to offer genuinely family-friendly holidays - a concept that has taken baby and toddler holidays to a new level in giving parents total peace of mind.
Today the business has a portfolio of its own concept resorts across Europe, a raft of family friendly villas and is set to continue in its mission to provide seamless, safe and wonderful holiday experiences.
Wendy believes deeply that family holidays are important and that creating precious memories together as a family to look back on is a true goal in life. The learnings from Wendy's entrepeneurial journey can be found in her book, 'The Mother of Invention'.
Wendy graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA Hons in Geography and then went on to join UK Sport in their marketing and public affairs unit. A brief stint in a PR agency was followed by a complete change of direction which saw Wendy complete her PGCE in Primary Education.
After five years of teaching and two children later, Wendy and her fighter pilot husband Robert Shand (now Tots to Travel CEO) were posted to North Wales where Wendy took a career break to look after the children. What followed was the holiday that ‘changed it all…!’
The story began after Wendy’s two-year-old son Barnaby fell into an unenclosed swimming pool whilst on holiday (which prompted a swift leap and rescue operation by Wendy & husband Rob). From this experience, Wendy identified an opportunity to offer genuinely family-friendly holidays - a concept that has taken baby and toddler holidays to a new level in giving parents total peace of mind.
What started out as a tiny operation from the family garage, has transformed to a team of 25 and website traffic from 100 to 1,500,000+ annual visitors. Raising a round of funding and, in 2007, re-branding the company from Tots To France to Tots to Travel, shifting focus from exclusively offering property in France to a broader, Europe wide offering.
Today the business has a growing number of its own concept resorts and a portfolio of hundreds of hand picked properties across Europe. In a year where the travel industry is experiencing difficulties, Tots is seeing rapid growth reflecting that the company is delivering exactly what families with young children really want and need from their holidays.
The cleverness of Wendy’s vision is in creating a two-sided marketplace, pairing families with pre-schoolers (who can choose to travel outside peak season) with owners of holiday accommodation that typically have low demand outside of school holidays.
In doing so she has created an operation that cherry picks only the very best and most suitable baby and toddler friendly villas & resorts which she then uses to craft an experience that is exclusively available for Tots to Travel families.
From 2016 onwards, Wendy and the team have focused heavily on delivering the first ever resort experiences to be designed specifically to serve families with young children, babies and toddlers.
“To get this right, I've blended over a decade of experience in serving families with an expert team of interior designers, play experts, nutritionists and so on who know exactly what it is that families want...nowhere else do families have an environment that is so carefully tailored to their needs with specially designed play corners in every villa, kids' bedrooms that have been interior designed and outdoor spaces that really do allow families to relax, play and recharge, with the right type of food, provided at times to suit them.”
As well as this amazing attention to detail, The Tot’s experiences include barriers for all private pools, an Essential Kit Guarantee, 30-point parent child safety check and outstanding levels of customer service as standard, giving families the very best chance of a blissful family holiday.
Wendy also works to make Tots to Travel impact the wider world by solving important problems for families less fortunate with a non-profit charity scheme called Buy 1 Get 1. Every time a family signs up for their newsletter, purchases a family holiday or one of the Tots team has a birthday/work anniversary, Tots makes an impact such as; giving school meals to children in India, health checks to people at risk of eye diseases in Africa or educational support to special needs children via the B1G1 initiative which is designed to improve lives and make the world a better place.
Wendy is regularly called upon to comment on holidaying with small children and on niche marketing in the travel industry. In addition Wendy is a regular keynote speaker, award judge, mentor, author and is regarded as an inspiring role model for 'mumpreneurs'.
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In this book, Wendy shares her professional and personal experiences of taking Tots to Travel from fledgling kitchen table start up to being a multi-award winning brand and leader in the competitive family travel market.
Inside you'll find:
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