We’ve pulled back the curtain so you can peek at how things work behind the scenes here at Macs HQ. Get to know some of our experts, specialists, fellow walking enthusiasts and small business owners who meticulously plan your trips, do all the logistical legwork and provide 24/7 support, so you can have a memorable, stress-free trip.
SPOTLIGHT ON MATHILDA, ON OF OUR OPERATIONS SPECIALISTS
This month we chatted to Mathilda, a Senior Operations Specialist who organises everything for your adventures. She told us what actually goes into planning a Macs adventure, what it’s like working with our suppliers and what item she just can’t travel without!
What does an Operations Specialist do?
We do a lot! And it’s not always easy. In a nutshell, an Operations Specialist makes the dream come true! Our main task is to book all our amazing customers’ trips and ensure we arrange the right accommodations and all the extra services such as taxi and luggage transfers. We work closely with our sales department to make sure we meet customers’ expectations, with the finance team to make sure our suppliers get paid on time, but also our product department, to make sure our tours run as smoothly as possible! We’re always aiming to make things better for our customers, our suppliers and Macs.
We also work very hard delivering the season from April to mid-October, supporting our customers on trip and our suppliers with all their queries. When we’re not busy delivering the season or making all our customers’ bookings, we work hard behind the scenes trying to onboard some new amazing suppliers, improving our current tours, or training the team! The operations team has grown massively over the last two years, and we want to make sure everybody feels confident working both independently and as part of a team.
What kind of suppliers do you work with?
I’m part of the Scotland and Ireland squad. I work mainly with accommodations, taxi and luggage transfers companies as well as other transport companies such as ScotRail or Calmac! However, being French, I sometimes also liaise with French-speaking suppliers as it’s always nicer to do business in your first language and some of our French suppliers struggle with English.
What’s it like working with our suppliers?
Supplier relationship management is my favourite part of my role. I really enjoy liaising with our suppliers, whether it’s through emails or phone calls. I’ve been working at Macs since 2021, so I know some of them really well now, even though I’ve never met them! Last winter, during our “quiet” season, I had a goal to onboard independent hotels in Glasgow. We’re based in Glasgow and yet we were working mostly with hotel chains. I contacted a few local accommodations, asked them when they would be available, and went to meet them to see if they were interested in working with Macs. It was nice to be able to make it more personal and meet our future suppliers in person. It was also valuable to view the accommodations in person and make sure they match Macs' standards.
What do you enjoy most about working for Macs?
It's 100% the people I work with! While I’m part of the Scotland and Ireland squad, the operations team is big and we’re always here for each other! I think Macs has managed to build a strong and reliable operations team and I really enjoy working along such friendly people.
I also really like the fact that we’re selling low impact trips. I studied sustainable tourism at university, so this is something I really care about and working for a company that shares my values is really important to me.
How important is it to support local suppliers on our routes?
One thing that’s really important at Macs is to work with independent and local suppliers. Being sustainable is not only about caring for the environment, it’s also providing benefits to the local people. We have many local suppliers that have a lot of trust in Macs! We are, for many, their preferred travel company to work with.
Last year, I walked the Dingle Way. It’s our most popular trip in Ireland, and John, the owner of Camp Junction House, kept telling me how much he loves working with us. We’re reliable, and our customers are a pleasure to host! It’s so important to build and maintain a good relationship with our suppliers, as it brings mutual benefits.
What’s your favourite Macs trip and why?
Excellent question… It would probably be the Scottish Coast to Coast Walk. Although I’ve never walked it - it just looks amazing! You get to see the diversity of Scotland from East to West, staying in some really remote areas, such as Rannoch Moor. It also covers parts of Scotland that are not as busy with tourists, so you get to experience the quiet Perthshire and yet end up walking part of the West Highland Way for the last few days of the trip. It must be an achievement to have crossed Scotland from Perth to Fort William.
I’ve always wondered why this trip was not more popular – it's a challenging tour to book though, as we work with three different luggage transfer companies. Nevertheless, every time I book it, I can just picture myself walking this tour.
What’s the biggest challenge in your day-to-day role?
Putting together a walking or a cycling trip is not easy. But I’m proud to have gained so much knowledge on all the Macs trips in Scotland and Ireland, which now makes it easier to plan and confirm our customers’ trips. This was definitely the biggest challenge when I started working at Macs, making sure I know the products we sell. Now the biggest challenge is to make these trips work. More and more people are into self-guided adventures, which means availability is getting tighter and tighter. I then have to think outside the box, but thanks to my strong knowledge of Scotland and Ireland, I can come up with innovative solutions to confirm a trip, while making sure the experience remains excellent for our customers.
What item can you never travel without?
It might sound rather boring, but… it’s my insulated water bottle. I can’t go anywhere (even to work) without it. Of course, I always make sure the water I fill it in with is drinkable. If I go to a destination where I know finding drinkable water is not easy, I bring my Water2Go bottle which has been really useful in Mongolia for example!