OnTheSnow caught up with MD of Neilson Holidays, Pete Tyler, to find out about the business and how he became MD of one of the UK's leading ski holiday companies.
OTS: Tell us a bit about Neilson Holidays, what do you specialise in?
Pete Tyler: Neilson Holidays offer a wide range of holidays in the mountains, in the snow and on the water. It is the only UK company offering this range of both winter and summer pursuits. The ski range is extensive with a massive selection of countries and resorts and we have a range of contracted accommodation as well as our own ski chalet operations. Our independent offices in Brighton employ more than 100 staff, and support over 1,000 overseas staff around the World.
OTS: How did you become MD of Neilson Holidays? What is your background?
Pete Tyler: While studying for a civil engineering degree at Lancaster University, I made the most of my long summer vacations teaching dinghy sailing on the French Mediterranean coast. After three summers spent in France, I graduated - just - with an engineering degree in 1984. I decided to use my new-found skills in dinghy and windsurfing instruction and landed a manager's role with Falcon Sailing in Greece. I spent two summers in Greece on Levkas Island working in Nidri and Vassiliki, then two summers in Turkey, near Bodrum.
At this time Falcon Sailing was owned by First Choice. After a few years on the beaches of Greece and Turkey, I moved back to London HQ to work in travel agency sales. As the company expanded, I headed up the management team as Product Manager. After a number of management changes the business joined the Thomas Cook Group in 1996. A couple of years later, Thomas Cook underwent a massive rebrand, and during this time the ski and sailing businesses were combined, and I became MD of the new Neilson Active Holidays.
OTS: Which of your ski holidays are most popular?
Pete Tyler: France is our biggest ski destination, with Austria and Andorra being our fastest growing.
OTS: Which are your favourite Neilson ski holidays?
Pete Tyler: Personally I really enjoy the Scandinavian ski experience, and love all the Nordic/Arctic sports you can add to your ski holiday.