Caroline Kohn recently joined us as a Travel Counsellor after running a different homeworking travel franchise for nearly five years. She hit the ground running and celebrated her success at our gala dinner during November's annual conference, when she won the award for our ‘Best Leisure New Starter’. We caught up with her to find out how our bespoke booking platform, Phenix, is a game-changer for her business, and why Travel Counsellors is so different to her previous travel franchise.
Hi Caroline, how did it feel to win ‘Best Leisure New Starter’ at our conference?
It was probably one of my proudest moments. It was amazing to be recognised for all my hard work and to realise what an achievement it’s been to build up my business from scratch to where it is now.
What’s the best thing about being a Travel Counsellor?
It’s having the autonomy to choose the best option for my customers, whether that’s a tailor-made itinerary created in our fabulous booking system, Phenix, or a tour crafted using the in-depth destination knowledge of our Destination Management Companies. I also know that I have expert guidance at my fingertips from both the knowledgeable support centre colleagues and my experienced fellow Travel Counsellors – everyone is so helpful.
How does Phenix set Travel Counsellors apart from your previous franchise?
The main difference with Travel Counsellors is that I can package my own holidays. I have much more control over planning the itineraries, so I can make them truly bespoke and suitable for my customer’s needs. Previously I always had to work with third parties, but I prefer having the option to work to my own timeframe, selecting my own hotels and routes.
I had heard about Phenix before I considered moving my franchise and always found it intriguing as I knew that having a bespoke booking system would suit me. After COVID there was so much uncertainty in travel, and I felt that I could take more control of my own destiny as a Travel Counsellor. So, after speaking to others already in the community, I knew it would be the perfect fit.
A year into your journey, what does Phenix mean to your business?
I love Phenix, firstly because it’s so intuitive and simple to use - it really doesn’t take long to get comfortable with it. I can easily put together packages, send quotes, and then book holidays in just a few steps. There’s also a useful dashboard which tells you with one glance how many bookings you have, who is travelling imminently, who is away in resort, and whether there’s anything you need to address. It makes it very easy to keep track.
It’s better than any other system I’ve used to make bookings, and I’ve tried a few in my time! Plus, it’s only going to get better with the investments that are being made into its continual development. For example, I’ve been trialling the new ‘TC Journeys’ function which will allow Travel Counsellors to drop in ready-made multi-destination itineraries to Phenix, which we can then adjust and adapt for our customers. It’s going to be a game-changer.
What does the Travel Counsellors community mean to you and your business?
The community and culture are another thing that sets Travel Counsellors apart from other homeworking franchises. People really want you to succeed and will go above and beyond if you need help. There is a genuine caring culture, which I have never come across before, and it was lovely to see this highlighted at the annual conference.
As my business grows, the community also offers the ability to work with other Travel Counsellors in teams, so I can share enquiries. This is so easy to manage through Phenix and means that I’ll never have more enquiries than I can respond to - there’s unlimited potential for me to grow my business.
Would you recommend the opportunity to become a Travel Counsellor?
Of course – I’d highly recommend it as you have all the tools you need to succeed. With the combination of outstanding technology, such as Phenix, and the backing of the Travel Counsellors community and support team, the sky’s the limit!
We’re so excited to see where Caroline takes her business by utilising Phenix and the support available to her as part of our caring community.
Do you want the flexibility and technology you need to do what’s best for your customers? Whether you have travel industry experience or not, we’re ready to welcome you into our community and support your success as a franchise owner. Inductions are already booking up for 2024, so now is the time to get in touch to start your journey.