Louise Hunt joined Travel Counsellors in 2013 with no previous experience in travel. Now she shares her journey from redundancy to becoming one of our most successful Travel Counsellors.
If you are considering starting your own travel business but lack knowledge of the industry, it can be hard to know where to start.
That’s where our Travel Academy comes in.
It is a 24-month training and onboarding programme designed specifically for people who want to run their own travel business, but have no previous experience selling travel.
We teach you not just to be a travel agent, but how to be a tour operator; tailor-making the perfect holiday from scratch. If you don't know the difference between a travel agent and a tour operator, find out here.
Crucially, acting as a tour operator gives Travel Counsellors control over the booking, instead of it being in the hands of a third party, and it future-proofs your business. Over 50% of all bookings are made via our own tour operation. But, thanks to their 'clean slate' of travel knowledge and the training they receive, Academy TCs act as the tour operator on 61% of their bookings.
Welcome to the Academy
Our 2-year Travel Academy is tailored exactly to the needs of people who are new to travel.
It is accredited by the Institute of Travel and Tourism and all of our Business Development Coaches have achieved the ILM Level 5 Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring.
17% of all our franchisees globally joined us through the Academy, so you’ll be following in the footsteps of plenty before you and you’ll have the travel experience of the remaining 83% of franchisees to call upon.
Our Academy Travel Counsellors have joined us from a whole range of backgrounds, including retail, finance, charity, public sector roles like teaching, the police force and the NHS.
Travel Academy Training
Naturally, one of the biggest concerns of Academy TCs before they join is the lack of formal knowledge and experience of selling travel.
The two weeks you’ll spend at our Head Office in Manchester cover the basics of travel, making the most of our systems and tools, marketing your business, product and destination knowledge and most importantly; how to put a holiday together and sell!
Then follows 30 weeks of guided study for you to do at home as well a two follow-up trainings at Head Office.
You’ll cover travel legislation, the procedural knowledge you need to operate on a day to day basis, and of course start building your knowledge of worldwide destinations, airlines, cruise lines and more.
We will never be able to teach you everything you need to know about the world. Every day in travel is a school day, and there’s always more to be discovered… that’s what makes it so exciting!
In addition to formal training, we hold monthly Takeover Days in Head Office as well as regional training events.
This is your chance to meet suppliers and learn about product direct from the source. In the past we’ve done events focused on Thailand, Winter Experience, Cruise, Florida, Touring and Adventure and more.
All Academy Travel Counsellors get complimentary membership to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and invited to the 3-day annual CLIA Conference – this is exclusive to Academy Travel Counsellors and vital for building your knowledge of cruise.
There are also regular FAM trips which see Travel Counsellors travel to visit destinations worldwide to experience product first-hand. Then when you come back you are better-placed to sell that product. Check out some of the places we’ve been recently here.
Lack of previous experience is by no means a barrier to becoming a great Travel Counsellor.
‘Gold’ is the name we give to our top-selling Travel Counsellors, a number of whom joined us through our Travel Academy, and now reap the rewards such as our annual Gold Weekends. On average, our Gold Academy Travel Counsellors take home £52,000 pa. If that seems a long way off, remember that these people joined us with no experience either, but embraced everything we have to offer to achieve their goals.
Central to your success is of course your customers. We have a very loyal customer base, with 97% of them saying they'd recommend us and consistently rating us 5* on Trustpilot. But you needn't worry too much about reaching these great heights; if going above and beyond for customers comes naturally to you, you're sure to succeed with our support to help you build your client base.
Need more information?
We're here to help.
We tackle two well-known terms that are taken for granted in the industry, but sometimes cause confusion. Then we explain why understanding the difference between the two is so important.
"I feel that becoming a Travel Counsellor will transform both my personal and work life. Being able to talk to clients on a daily basis, discussing and arranging their future holidays is something I will enjoy and look forward to."