Hayley O’Shea joined us in 2017 after the independent agency she worked for was taken over, and things changed. We spoke to Hayley, to find out how she took back control and set up her own business.
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.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Katie Dale and I live near Bury in north-west England with my husband, our little boy Noah, who is seven, and our fluffy white dog, Baxter. My hubby and I recently got married in Greece, after 12 years of being together. As well as being a Travel Counsellor, I’m also a keen photographer and for relaxation, I’m partial to a nice glass of red or two!
Where did you work prior to joining Travel Counsellors?
Prior to joining Travel Counsellors, I was a manager at a high street travel company for 13 years, selling both corporate and tailor-made leisure travel.
What convinced you to give up the day job and become a Travel Counsellor?
I was desperate for some work/life balance and I needed a new challenge. I loved the idea of being able to spend time developing my own business and client base and setting my own targets. The prospect of a move away from all the added responsibilities that come with managing a busy retail store was very attractive to me, too. It also meant the world to me to be able to do the school run every day with Noah.
How do you feel about reaching Gold, joining the top-performing Travel Counsellors in the business, in such a short time?
I’m delighted! I joined Travel Counsellors exactly one year ago, and I was so happy to reach Gold on my first-year anniversary. When I made the move, I wanted to make a massive success of it, so I really did put everything I had into my business. I attended the Going for Gold course, which was invaluable in giving me a huge boost towards the target; I also picked up some brilliant tips. But my main aim for year one was to ensure all my clients were happy with my service. To reach Gold as well has been the icing on the cake in a fabulous first year in business!
What do you love most about being a Travel Counsellor?
I absolutely love the flexibility it has given me. To spend more time with my family and friends doing what I love has been a joy. I also get lots more time to dedicate to my lovely clients and to my photography. Plus, I’ve made more money in year one than I ever did in my previous jobs! And if flexibility and financial reward aren’t reason enough, I’ve just come back from an incredible fam trip to Seattle and Oregon with an awesome group of Travel Counsellors. That was a real highlight of my first year! And I know there’ll be many more opportunities to enjoy fam trips and supplier-led events in the months and years to come.
Could you share your top tips for business success?
I think having the time to look after my small client base like gold has been the key to it. I now consider my customers to be friends as well as clients, so I’d say my relationships are stronger than ever. I have also started to get some brilliant referrals from my clients too, which is helping grow my business even further. For me, customer experience and commitment are everything. I think if you get those two key elements right, then success will follow. I have definitely been celebrating reaching Gold, and I feel so proud of what I have achieved so far. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings!
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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.