Your Stories: Barrhead Travel’s Chelsea Thomson’s partner popped the question at a Sandals resort

The agent is one of the group’s top sellers for Sandals and Beaches Resorts and was proposed to at one of the operator’s hotels in Jamaica. Juliet Dennis reports

Q. What’s your background?
A. I was in double glazing sales for nine years in East Kilbride [near Glasgow in Scotland] and it was time for me to do something new and different. I started at that company in telesales and ended up as sales manager. I have always travelled since a young age so when the opportunity came up to work for Barrhead Travel, I jumped at it. It’s what I love doing. I had travelled a lot with my family and friends to Australia, the US and on a Caribbean cruise. I had the interview in 2018 for a travel consultant position at the Silverburn store and I joined after four weeks of training in Glasgow. I’m now a team leader and have never looked back.

I had the interview in 2018 for a travel consultant position at the Silverburn store and I joined after four weeks of training in Glasgow

Q. What have the last few years been like for you?
A. The pandemic was bonkers. We let the shop staff out early [when the UK went into lockdown] and I thought we’d all see each other a few weeks later. I was working at home throughout the pandemic and it took a lot of getting used to. There were three of us at home, working on our laptops. I normally go on holiday three times a year, usually long haul, so after two years without a trip I was demented! When we went back to the shop in 2021 I wanted to book myself a holiday, but it was so busy I didn’t end up going away until last year. My first trip abroad was in May, and that was a fam trip to Qatar with work.

When we went back to the shop in 2021 I wanted to book myself a holiday, but it was so busy I didn’t end up going away until last year

Q. How did you become a Sandals specialist?
A. From day one at Barrhead Travel, I have always sold Sandals. It’s something I have always been interested in. It’s my kind of holiday: luxury, all-inclusive. It’s what I look for in a trip, so I can sell it to customers very easily because it’s something I like myself. I became one of the main sellers of Sandals after working at a wedding show in Glasgow in conjunction with Sandals. Soon after I was selling Sandals every week. I now do five or six bookings a month; I am one of Barrhead’s top sellers for Sandals. I do all the training as soon as it comes out so I know all the facilities. If clients ask me about Sandals, it just clicks.

I became one of the main sellers of Sandals after working at a wedding show in Glasgow in conjunction with Sandals

Q. Did you know your trip to Jamaica was going to be so memorable?
A. I had no idea my partner Fraser was going to ask me to marry him! We were about to move out of our house so I thought there was no way we were going to get engaged. It was never even brought into conversation. I had always wanted to do a candlelit dinner on the beach because people in store ask me about it, and that’s how he did it. He spoke to the butler, who went above and beyond the call of duty. Before we ate dinner we were on a podium above the beach and Fraser went down on one knee. We had Moët champagne and the glass said ‘wifey’ on it but I didn’t see that; I was in a bubble for the whole thing! I didn’t question any of it. There was music playing, candles, photographs being taken and our butler Omar FaceTimed it so my mum even saw it all happening from back home! We had a candlelit dinner on the beach with a singer at the side of our table; it was beautiful. It was no doubt one of the most romantic experiences of my life.

There was music playing, candles, photographs being taken and our butler Omar FaceTimed it so my mum even saw it all happening from back home! 

Q. Do you plan to tie the knot at a Sandals resort?
A. We have not set a date for the wedding. We are moving house this month, so it’s a bit hectic at the moment. Fraser works offshore so he is away for a couple of weeks at a time. We are already planning our wedding, but some family may not be able to afford to travel to a Sandals resort for our wedding. We want to go to Sandals Dunn’s River, Jamaica, for our honeymoon even if we don’t get married there. We couldn’t fault either of the resorts we went to in Jamaica; South Coast was on the beach and Montego Bay was a city stay; they both have totally different vibes.

We want to go to Sandals Dunn’s River, Jamaica, for our honeymoon even if we don’t get married there


Have you visited many Sandals resorts?

I used the free nights I had earned by selling Sandals to book our holiday in August 2022. We got seven free nights at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica and then we did seven nights at Sandals Montego Bay.

I wanted to go to the Sandals resorts in Jamaica because they are really popular with clients and so I knew if I went I would come back with the knowledge to sell them better. So far I have been to three Sandals resorts.

Sandals South Coast is on the beach and Montego Bay is a city stay and was a totally difference experience; they have completely different vibes

This was my second trip to Sandals and it was out of this world. My first was a few years ago to the Bahamas. I thought if I had the option to do two resorts, I may as well do it.

In the week I got back I sold the South Coast resort and I have sold both since then. I knew from when I went to the Bahamas how much easier it is to sell once you have been as you have the answers. I’d love to go to one of their new resorts.

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