Corporate travel is booming, and that’s evident in our business travel sales figures for FY23, as we broke through the £200m barrier for the first time. And, we’re set to grow further in FY24. To ensure we can keep providing a business travel service that’s built on care and trust, we need corporate travel professionals who live and breathe our values – all while having an entrepreneurial spirit.
Mark Buckley is the perfect example of this. He joined us in April 2023, and he’s already hit £1m in sales, is boosting his earnings by working in teams with fellow Travel Counsellors, and is supporting some large-scale accounts with their business travel needs.
We caught up with him to find out about his first seven months as a Travel Counsellor to see what he’s enjoying, his secrets to success, and why he’d recommend us to anyone who wants the autonomy to build a corporate travel franchise of their own.
Hi Mark! What were you doing prior to joining Travel Counsellors?
I’ve been in tourism for 25 years, from tour guiding in Africa and working at a tour operator in London, to moving to Sydney to sell pacific-based holidays. I then moved back to the UK and worked as a team leader at a travel management company for ten years. I made the jump to Travel Counsellors in April 2023.
How have you grown your business since joining us?
I didn’t say no to anyone at first. I took on the painful little bookings that helped me to get my foot in the door. These smaller bookings led to me winning some far larger accounts. I also gave free advice and made myself available every day. This helped me to earn trust among clients, and I’ve recently had to remove myself from one account as my business has grown so rapidly!
Why did Travel Counsellors stand out to you?
I have had many colleagues and friends take the step before me, so it didn’t feel like a blind leap. Everyone I knew who had joined Travel Counsellors were happy with the ethos and direction in which the business was going. The self-employed aspect combined with help from support colleagues at head office stood out to me. It really aligned with my goals to create my own business within the travel industry.
What’s been your personal highlight since becoming a Travel Counsellor?
I think month seven was my highlight. I hit £1m in sales, earned a nice wage, and had some lovely feedback. I’m starting to see a reliable turnover and have forged some great client relationships.
How have you been assisted by our support team colleagues and fellow franchisees?
My mentor has been a stand-out, and some of my ex-colleagues who are now Travel Counsellors brought me in to help manage an account that was growing. The business development managers have also given me some amazing accounts. It really has been a real team effort. The support team colleagues are also great at replying to my queries and solving my operational questions.
What are your business goals for 2024?
I want to solidify my existing clients by providing more reports and analysis. I also want to get better at spotting leakage – for example, why am I not getting the hotels for flight-only bookings? I’m in the process of chasing up a few leads, and if they come to fruition, I hope to create more TC Teams and expand my turnover. Achieving Gold is also my next challenge.
What do you enjoy most about being a Travel Counsellor?
I enjoy the ability to work from home – the flexibility is great. I have the autonomy to go after the business that suits me. Also, I get the benefit of the camaraderie within my teams, while maintaining full independence and control of my business and my working hours.
Would you recommend Travel Counsellors to other corporate travel professionals who want to work for themselves?
Yes, certainly. With the new tech that’s being delivered by the business, I think the future is bright. If you want to control your own business direction, hours, and size, then Travel Counsellors is a good vehicle for that.
Are you working in corporate travel but want to turn your expertise and customer service excellence into a business that you can call your own? We’ve got big things planned for 2024, so we’re strengthening our community of business travel franchisees. Would you like to join us? Our inductions are already starting to fill up for the coming year, so don’t miss out on the chance to unleash your earning potential and rid yourself of targets. Submit your enquiry and a member of our team will be in touch.