Zori, Marga and Helen with Nicky (missing Susana and Ann). | Phoenix Media Mallorca

I’m in Portals, waiting to speak to Nicky Roberts from Ticket Travel Agency, she’s probably better known as Nicky Ticket, at least that is how I know her. Nicky and her team helped me book a complex series of flights to get to Africa, and then helped when the same flights were delayed (on Christmas Eve of all possible dates) and meant my family and I were 24 hours late for our holiday and stranded in Frankfurt airport of all places. Whilst I’m waiting to begin our interview a yacht captain comes into the office to say hi, the phones are ringing, the Ticket team are busy answering them, and Olly the dog is staring at me with big, slightly wary, eyes. It’s just a typical busy Tuesday morning, and Nicky and I slip off for a coffee so that she can tell me her story.

Nicky Roberts.
Nicky Roberts.

How did you first come to be in Mallorca?
It was the typical thing, I came on holiday with a friend! It was over 30 years ago. We stayed in her family's penthouse in Paguera. She had a group of local friends and I met my husband Miguel that summer. I was living in England and working as an accountant. So we started dating and commuting and a couple of years later I decided to move here and give it a go. And of course there was no EU so it was a bit like now, you can’t just walk in and find a job. You had to be self-employed professional, and you had to have your qualifications homogolized.

What did your family think of your move?
I lost my father when I was very young. So it was just my mum, and yes, she was very upset. My mother was a nurse and because of her I spent a lot of time in hospitals. I always thought that I would be a hospital secretary when I grew up! My first nursery school was actually in the hospital. I loved being around hospitals and people. She was working with the elderly. She had tried to put me off working in a hospital because she thought I would end up marrying a foreigner and moving away. So it was probably always my destiny that I was going to do exactly that! Now she stays in my house in Es Capdella where we live so we see a lot of each other.

What did you do for a living when you first lived in Mallorca?
I was allowed to work for myself, so I did bookkeeping for people, and a bit of marketing and advertising work. I was doing the books for a travel agency and that is how I first started in the industry. Then I was headhunted by Happy Holidays which was a small company with a great reputation. Our clients were twofold: the residents who wanted to go on trips away from Mallorca, and the visitors to Mallorca who wanted to get day trips and so on. I worked there for quite a few years.

Helen and Nicky in the office.
Helen and Nicky in the office.

How did Ticket begin?
I could see that there were a lot of changes coming in travel and that there was a niche in the travel market to work with superyachts, and I decided to go for it with a business partner, Karen in 1999. When she got married she and her husband moved away and I bought her out. The business was successful from day one, we quickly had to take on another girl to work with us. We managed to win a lot of business in the marine industry, taking on the travel arrangements for crews on yachts. There were only a couple of other businesses in Europe that were doing what we were doing, offering specific types of flights to repatriate mariners and move crew around the world. As soon as that was successful I turned my eye to cruises. We offered last minute fares on the cruise ships where you could literally just walk onto the boat in Palma and walk off again a week later when you got back to Palma.

How did you cope through COVID?
We were still open, not to the public, but we were still in the office and working. We were able to take calls and help people to get back to their country of origin. We helped a lot of people in that time.

Olly, the office pooch.
Olly, the office pooch.

I’ve noticed as well that Ticket is very involved in supporting the community.
We do our bit yes, we donate raffle prizes and we support with help booking travel for organisations like the Six Points Challenge and the Arts Society. It’s our way to give back to our community, and to say thank you. The Six Points Challenge has become quite a passion of mine, Ticket is responsible for booking all of the hotels for the riders for each of the challenges. I was eventually invited to be on the committee of the Six Points and I consider it a great honour.

What would be your ideal trip?
If I could return to somewhere it would have to be Kenya, they say that Africa never leaves you once you have visited. They call it the African claw. And if I were to go somewhere completely new, I would choose the Galapagos Islands.

What about on the island? What’s your favourite place?
I really love Cap Formentor, it’s wonderful to go up there. It’s breathtaking.

And your favourite place to eat?
There’s no way I could pick just one place. I would upset too many people! I must say that I am very happy that Sa Vinya in Es Capdella, my village, is back open and we are all trying to support it as much as possible.

Zori, Marga and Helen with Nicky (missing Susana and Ann).
Zori, Marga and Helen with Nicky (missing Susana and Ann).

In this age of online booking, what is it that keeps Ticket successful?
You might be surprised to know that actually there are many holidays and flights that we can get cheaper than a client can online due to our association with certain booking systems which we have access to. So it is worth coming in to see us to see what we can do. Another thing which we have noticed is that some people just prefer to have a travel agent book everything for them, and they are very happy to hand over the responsibility to us to get them the best options.

We offer really good customer service. If you buy a flight online and it is cancelled and you are stuck at the airport, what do you do? The airlines are pulling all of their staff, there are hardly any people working for them actually face to face in the airport now. If you call you will get a recorded message. What do you do? With Ticket we have a customer service line 24/7 which our clients can use to help them and support them if they have problems. Recently, for example, we had a lady in her 80s who was at the airport and had her flight cancelled and she was told to “Go and use the App”. But because she had booked through us she could call us and we got her on the next available flight. We are an independent company and we are a small, solid team and because of that we make great relationships with our customers who sometimes become our friends.

You can see more about Ticket on their website www.ticket-es.com or go to visit the team Monday to Friday 9.30am to 6.30pm or Saturday mornings 9.30am to 1pm.