We caught up with Travel Counsellor, Katie Dale, to find out what she made of the whirlwind first year of running her own travel business, and attaining ‘Gold’, which is the name we give to our top-performing franchisees.
Hayley O’Shea joined us in 2017 after 10 years working for one of the UK’s largest independent travel agencies.
We spoke to Hayley, to find outwhy she left the high street and joined Travel Counsellors.
“I worked on the high street for an independent agency in Devon, which was then taken over by a much larger agency. I appreciate the foundations in travel I got working there, but over time, the negatives began to outweigh the positives.”
“The mentality and priorities of the business changed: it became very sales and target driven with time pressure to get customers in and out, rather than taking the time to get it right. It felt like we worked at a fast food drive-through!”
“Personally, I very rarely felt appreciated for all the hours and hard work I had put into the business. I was expected to train new staff without any let-up in my own targets, there was very little by way of incentives or educationals and it was endless form filling and chasing KPIs. It became so demotivating and so far removed from the exciting travel company it was when I started.”
“In terms of product training, there was none. All we learnt, was how to meet a client, sit them down, and sell sell sell. It didn’t matter if you knew about the destination or not!”
“Whilst I loved my team and leaving them to become self-employed was difficult, it was evident when I left that all the years of service meant nothing and I was easily replaced.”
“When I visited Travel Counsellors, I was made to feel important before I had even joined! I chatted with Steve (the CEO) and couldn’t believe how relaxed the atmosphere was. I then had a week’s training and the systems and technology blew me away, from that moment I knew I had made the right decision.”
“I’ve been here two years now, so I can confidently praise the work of the commercial team, who are always adding new products and suppliers for us, that can’t be booked elsewhere. This is backed up by fabulous training and opportunities to experience the product first-hand and delivered through technology that is so easy to use and has never let me or my customers down.”
“Initially it was tough, I was working a lot of hours to get the business off the ground. But the difference is it’s for me. And it has all been worth it as I am earning more than ever before.”
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After joining us, Michelle challenged herself to change the way she worked; from selling third party suppliers to packaging together her own holidays and acting as the tour operator. Her life has changed unrecognisably since.
20% of Travel Counsellors have worked for Thomas Cook at some point in their career. We spoke to one of them, Rebecca Whitmore, to find out her advice for those affected.