Lightning was founded to make the travel industry better.

Our founder, Thea (they/she), spent years managing the hosted buyer programmes for well known luxury travel trade events. It was there they saw the power of bringing people together. They learned good relationships lead to great business – and that, ultimately, personal connections are the most valuable asset in any industry.

But they also witnessed an industry with a distinct lack of diversity. Spaces where some people felt unwelcome, and even unsafe. Structures, settings and celebrations that marginalised certain groups. And recruitment practices that put profits over people, showing little to no interest in making a positive change.

In September 2019 they founded Lightning Travel Recruitment with the goal of creating a new model of recruitment in the travel industry: one founded on long-term, personal relationships with both clients and candidates, with the aim of building an industry that genuinely reflects the wonderful human beings on our planet.

And, after a global pause that gave us a chance to reflect, a more conscientious attitude to business is emerging – one that’s more sustainable, both in environmental and human terms. Tomorrow’s consumers and workforce will put their money and time where their mouth is, choosing to invest in companies that celebrate individuality and champion inclusivity.

So, let’s not forget it. Let’s grow our businesses with humans in mind, not just money. Because business is better when you give a sh*t.


Our values guide us everyday.

They are a framework for the way we operate - the 'how' to our 'why'. Feel free to borrow them. What's ours is yours. In fact, please do. We'd love everybody in our industry to live by them.


Be empowering  Everyone being the same is boring – and it makes for really bad business. So, seek new perspectives. Encourage authenticity. Celebrate differences. Because everyone should be able to bring their whole self to work.

Be human  Like it or not, work is emotional because it impacts people’s lives. So, be compassionate. Show generosity. Foster long-term relationships that help everyone thrive. And, for goodness sake, don’t ghost people.

Be better  Just because it’s always been done that way, doesn’t mean it’s right. So, call out bullsh*t. Lead the crowd, don’t follow it. Make choices you’re proud of. Because it’s on all of us to try harder and make our industry an example to follow.

Discover our D&I work

Our team gives a sh*t  

We’re not one of those faceless organisations where you never speak to the same person twice. The lightning team is small but mighty – think of us as an extension of your own, on hand every step of the way.

Thea Bardot


Trans Non-binary finery & ADHD babe, Thea is a strong believer in the power of personal relationships & is Rufus the Dachshunds human. Thea low key ends every sentence with a lightning emoji.

Jack Williams


Our hospitality & HR guru, Jack is also a bang average tennis player (backhand needs work), a fan of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and his guilty pleasure is Survivor, the tv show.

Caolan Cassidy


Experienced in hospitality and recruitment (separately), Caolan loves bringing people together and seeing relationships flourish. He also enjoys a dad joke and listening to podcasts as well as RPDR. Shantay, you stay!

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Our name is a tribute  

Believe it or not, we didn’t choose Lightning as our name because of the cute emoji. Truth is, we were brainstorming in a pub – where all our best work happens – thinking about changemakers and queer icons who champion individuality and send jolts through their industries. Bowie. Gaga. Potter. (Okay, maybe not the last one.) Their lightning bolts represent power and decisiveness – flashes of clarity, inspiration, and creativity.

That settled it. We registered the name Lightning Travel Recruitment that very night. (The cute emoji is a definite bonus, we have to admit ⚡)

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