Meet Travel Counsellor Ksenia Emelina…

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What was your background prior to becoming a Travel Counsellor (TC)? I was born in St Petersburg, Russia and relocated to the UAE over 15 years ago. For as long as I can remember I always wanted to work in travel, I studied tourism at college and ultimately obtained a bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality. This led me to working in luxury hotels, airlines, premier tour operators and finally becoming a Travel Counsellor back in 2018.

What made you decide to become a Travel Counsellor? It was not a quick decision, I had done a lot of research into the business prior to joining. It was also a big consideration after my maternity leave to leave a full-time oƯice based, salaried employment to become self employed and work from home. With a young daughter the flexibility of the business was really appealing, allowing me to balance my ambition with my family commitments. I joined one of the discovery sessions to learn more about the company along with the support that they would oƯer, and I also contacted a TC who was already in the business to hear firsthand her experience. There was a point when I thought it sounded too good to be true but after talking to the team and doing my research, I could see the potential and decided to go for it. That was over 5 years ago, and I’ve been in business ever since.

What does your typical day look like? I do a lot of social media marketing, so my day often starts by reviewing my content calendar and scheduling posts. Much of my day is spent focused on customers whether that be responding to their enquiries, following up on quotes or meeting them for coƯee to work on designing their next trip. There is also a lot of time dedicated to learning, whether that be new resorts, specific destinations or researching itineraries and that’s one of my favorite parts of the job. I love that I learn something new each day and that I am immersed in an industry that I am so passionate about.

Where do you find your customers? When I launched my business, this was my biggest question and I thought it would be a challenge, but I initially started with my friends and family and from there I started to get referrals. For me I also focused on my network and the Russian speaking community here in the UAE. I attended events and shared my knowledge through blogs and on social media. Social media has been beneficial for me, and the promotion of my business and I enjoy the creative side of designing posts, videos and fun content for my audience.

What do people choose to book with you as a Travel Counsellor? For the majority it’s the customer service and level of care that they receive. The feedback they give me is that’s its unusual for a consumer to feel such care and attention to detail when you are booking a trip. They like that I take the time to talk to them, get to know them and their preferences before designing an itinerary for them. Also, the security of having a human not a bot at the end of the phone or WhatsApp message, is valuable too, in case they need any support whilst travelling.

What have been the highlights of your career so far as a Travel Counsellor? I am lucky there have been so many. Firstly, it is constant personal development that makes me so happy, as I am always learning new things about Travel Trade. Secondly, I am motivated by the sales milestones I have achieved in my business so far. And finally, is wonderful feedback I receive from my customers - it’s so lovely to receive their feedback and see their happy pictures from the trips I have booked. Another highlight in my career, I have had many articles published on websites, social media blogs and even in The Gulf News, that contributed to community and help many people to find an expert advice.

What are the future plans for you and your business? Now I am in a position where my business has grown, and I am receiving many referrals that I have teamed up with another Travel Counsellor, so we support each other and share the workload. It’s been great having someone to work closely with and collaborate on ideas.

Finally what advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a Travel Counsellor? I’d say just take that first step. Have confidence in yourself, if you never try, you’ll never know. I am so happy I took the chance, as a new mum I was motivated to make it work for my family and now my daughter tells me how proud she is of me and my business. Be positive, work hard and the results will follow.

For further information about becoming a Travel Counsellor in The UAE please join an upcoming information webinar or email holly.mccann@travelcounsellors.ae To contact Ksenia about planning your next trip please email ksenia.emelina@travelcounsellors.ae

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