Stephen Kumar joined our UAE TC family in September 2020. Coming from some of the biggest travel management companies in Dubai and Delhi, he has spent the last 22 years working in retail travel focusing on, corporate travel, leisure bookings and MICE – meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions.
We hear from Stephen, on why he chose to partner with Travel Counsellors to run his travel business and his advice for other people trying to ascertain if this is the right decision for them.
Tell us, why did you choose Travel Counsellors? would you recommend Travel Counsellors to someone that is looking to take that step to run their own travel business?
My career has always been in travel, for 22 years I have managed Corporate Travel accounts and booked many leisure bookings. The decision to turn my experience into running my own business was one I was ready to make. My experience assisted me in making this decision, understanding many verticals of operations, sales and account management set me up to be able to be an independent travel advisor for my clients.
The support provided by both the UAE and UK offices in Travel Counsellors has enabled me to support my clients and deliver the products and service they are looking for. Being empowered to run my own business also allows me to build relationships with companies where I was restricted before, the benefit to the company increases with me knowing why they are travelling, preferences and even to be able to look after their leisure bookings also.
Being a home-based Business Owner, do you feel you have more flexibility in your workday?
In short, yes! there is a huge difference to not only running my own business but being a home-based worker also. Initially, it took me some time to get accustomed to it, it was new to me, sitting at home and working. In my career, I have never worked from home, now I regret I didn't join Travel Counsellors earlier!
My focus was initially on managing my time efficiently and effectively-being disciplined to stick to my schedule. My daily schedule is varied, depending on my clients demand and spending time to ensure I am kept up to date with what is happening in the travel industry. I make sure I dedicate a substantial amount of my time building and maintaining my business - I must make sure that I give 100% to it.
What opportunities are you given to learn and develop as a Travel Counsellor?
The training and development opportunities are endless. Whether I want to focus on my corporate or leisure clients, there is always something that I can access to assist me. Let's begin with marketing, there is a huge volume of assets available for me to use to help promote my business and what I deliver to my clients. I can create my own marketing and manage my Social Media and direct email marketing. If I don't want to create my own then we are provided with a lot of marketing options which I can download from our Product Hub library and share directly with my clients, even our weekly marketing mailers are created on my behalf and I can decide if I want my customers to receive it or not - everything is possible.
For Corporate Travel, the benefit I can offer my clients is our credit account option, we conduct a lot of internal checks but my clients love the fact that even as an Independent Travel Advisor, I can still provide the same benefits, plus a lot more.
In summary, running my own business means I can be there for my clients and deliver the service that they require. I found a major benefit in being a part of Travel Counsellors is their community. I am never alone, yes, we run our business independently from each other but collectively we are one team. We are always updated on important information, new destinations, products to ensure our clients are receiving the most up to date information. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we receive constant updates to support our clients.
What advice would you give to any potential TC's out there who want to join travel counsellors?
To me, Travel Counsellors is perfect for anyone who want to take care of their customers and clients, really get to know what they want out of their trips, whether corporate or leisure. If you are passionate about travel and love organising tailormade itineraries, then Travel Counsellors is the place for you to be.