Next up in our ‘One Year On’ series is Gemma Timberlake, who traded in managing a busy high street travel agency to be her own boss.

Gemma joined us at the end of November 2022, after spending two decades working at a high-street travel agency. She loves sharing her travel knowledge and wanted the freedom to create truly bespoke holiday experiences for her customers.


As part of our ‘One Year On’ series, we caught up with Gemma to find out how she’s built her business, what she enjoys most about running her franchise, and what goals she’s set herself for the year ahead.

Hi Gemma! What was it that attracted you to Travel Counsellors?

I really liked the fact that you have your own business, but still have support and a network of people to get advice and assistance from.

How have you built and grown your business since joining?

I’ve built my business solely by word of mouth. I’ve not advertised my business anywhere. I just asked people to recommend me to their friends and family, and that’s how things have grown. My secret to success is to start by looking at the people closest to you and figure out what they can bring to your business.

How would you describe the assistance from our support colleagues?

The support is so beneficial, especially if something isn’t quite right and you need something fixing. Any issues are sorted out in an efficient way.

What do you enjoy most about being a Travel Counsellor?

I really enjoy the flexibility to work in a way that suits me and my customers. You’re in charge of your own workload. It feels like you have a huge team around you, and there’s so much experience and knowledge that can be shared within the community. I also really value the variety of suppliers and Destination Management Companies I have access to. It allows me to find exactly what my customers want.

How would you describe the Travel Counsellors community?

The community is fantastic. We all understand each other and are not in competition. Everyone wants the best for everyone, which is lovely.

What’s been your favourite itinerary you’ve booked so far?

Gosh, it’s hard to choose! It’s probably a special family holiday to Thailand over Christmas. I added a night at Elephant Hills Resort, which they never would have thought of doing. I also found them an amazing all-inclusive hotel, where they can relax by their own private pool. The customer is really looking forward to it. I built the whole trip from scratch using Phenix, our in-house booking platform.

What are your goals for your business over the next 12 months?

I want to increase the number of customers in my contact centre and deliver more sales than I have this year. This first year has been about drawing in customers, but now I want to really showcase the benefits of booking with me, rather than doing it themselves online. I’m not giving myself too big a challenge as I’ll soon be taking some time off to have a baby, but if I can improve my sales and margin year-on-year I’ll be super happy. I believe that I can do it.

Would you recommend Travel Counsellors to anyone who wants to set up their own travel business?

Without a doubt! I’ve already recommended it to two friends, who’ve since joined. It’s great being your own boss. You’re free to make all the decisions and create your own salary.

Are you thinking about where you’d like your career to take you in 2024? If you want to have complete control over your work-life balance and your earnings, we can offer you the freedom to grow a business you can be proud of. Get in touch and let one of our New Franchise team talk you through all the amazing things you can look forward to when you join the Travel Counsellors community.

Ready to join the family?

Talk to our supportive team about becoming a Travel Counsellor.

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