"If all you think about is money, your business is never going to work. You have to be passionate about what you are doing and you have to want to win."
Gerry Pack worked for the same company for 14 years after leaving school. In the course of his work Gerry discovered that there was no efficient, cost-effective way to book an overnight stay for a customer at an airport hotel. A clunky system and little commission meant travel agents hated booking airport hotels for their clients. He saw an opportunity...
Once inspired and convinced there was a good business, Gerry became a hotel-room wholesaler securing advance allocations of hotel rooms and selling them to agents at a discounted rate that still offered a profit. The hotels got new business, the travel agent saved time with an efficient booking system that was free and paid commission. The customer benefited by getting cheaper airport hotel accommodation. The Apple Booking Company was established in 1983.
Holiday Extras and its award-winning websites and call centre now deal with airport parking, airport hotels, short breaks, travel insurance and much more. The Holiday Extras founder stepped down from his role as non-executive chairman in December 2009, handing over to his long-term colleague Steve Lawrence and son, Matthew, as the company restructured for future growth. As the UK's market leader for travel add-ons, the company continues to evolve and is working hard to make Gerry's son's hassle-free vision a reality.
Gerry and his wife Carol have four children. Both enjoy horse riding, skiing and sailing in their spare time. Gerry has an immense passion for golf, playing and watching. Their grandchildren are their world.
"Currently my holidays are not quite as hassle-free as I'd like, following a serious skiing accident, but at least I start them in a hassle-free manner with an overnight hotel and parking before I fly.
"I am a keen sailor but as anyone who sails knows, you can move from one breakdown to another and there is always something to fix. You have to be prepared to take it on the chin and keep those brilliant experiences right at the front of your thinking. I'm determined to go back to skiing soon as I love spending time in the mountains, especially in Sierre Chevalier, France where I have a lot of local friends now."
"My children inspire Carol and I: Hannah with her English skills, of which I have none; Jeremy with his drama entertaining us all; Simon's culinary delights; Matthew's grasp of the electronic world we live in and his ability to embrace it and drive change throughout the business to make it work for customers, suppliers and the company.
"What else inspires me is anything done fantastically well. Business, education, art, food and any sport, but more and more it is that small group of people who quietly contribute so much to society as a whole, not necessarily financially, but by giving their time and energy to get things done that make real difference to their community. It is all done for no personal gain or recognition, just the desire to put something back and to make a difference; they really are an inspiration.
"People who practise what they preach, how rare are they?!"