Last weekend, we hosted our biggest-ever and most sustainable Annual Conference at Manchester Central, where we welcomed 1,750 delegates from around the world. The three-day event brought together Travel Counsellors and their partners, support team colleagues, and over 200 suppliers, for a weekend of business updates, motivational talks, networking, and celebrations.
Renowned celebrity host Vernon Kay made a triumphant return, and the event featured an exceptional lineup of external speakers including broadcaster and author, Fearne Cotton, entrepreneur Sara Davies MBE, hosts of the High Performance Podcast, Jake Humphrey and Professor Damian Hughes, and journalist and broadcaster, Louis Theroux.
Meanwhile, our festival-themed Friday night party saw a headline performance from Ibiza in Symphony, while Spandau Ballet frontman, Tony Hadley, and chart-topping singer, Becky Hill, graced the stage at our Saturday night gala dinner.
During the weekend, we celebrated the success of some of our business owners who have gone above and beyond.
Leisure Travel Counsellor Michelle Wilson, and Corporate Travel Counsellor Bev Beck, were both awarded a brand-new car for achieving the highest NPS scores among our community – showcasing their commitment to providing exceptional customer service.
We also held an awards ceremony at our gala dinner to reward and recognise our top-performing franchisees, as well as our best new-starters, and those who have grown their business the most or embraced our ‘one team’ ethos – the theme of this year’s conference.
Our well-deserved gala dinner awards winners each secured a place on a very special trip. Congratulations to our winning business owners, who were:
- One Team Award (as voted for by our wider community) – Andy La Gette
- Top Corporate New Starter – Amy Frost
- Top Leisure New Starter – Caroline Kohn
- Best Overall Business Growth – Joanne Thorburn
- Best Performing Corporate Travel Counsellor – Chris D’Arcy
- Top Performing Leisure Travel Counsellor - Drew Palmer
- Top Performing Global Travel Counsellor – Chris D’Arcy and Gary Fitzgibbon
Looking ahead to the next 12 months
At the conference, we announced that we’ll be investing £15 million into our tech over the next 12 months – which will support five key developments that will help our franchisees to be their best and continue creating unforgettable travel experiences for their customers.
The first to launch will be ‘TC Journeys’ in December 2023, which will make it easier for our Travel Counsellors to tailor-make multi-centre itineraries. Franchisees will be able to share itineraries they’ve created with the wider community, allowing other business owners to check live availability and pricing in seconds.
We’ll also be making further updates to our in-house booking platform, Phenix. This will include a local search functionality that will make it easier for Travel Counsellors to see bookable products in a specific location. As well as this, we’ll be rolling out a new platform that will pull email, WhatsApp, and video calls into one channel, making it easier than ever for them to communicate with current and prospective customers.
A new marketing initiative will see us collaborate with social media influencers to grow awareness of the brand and drive demand for bookings. ‘Pools’ of Travel Counsellors will be created to handle enquiries generated by the campaign, which will be piloted in February or March 2024.
AI will play a key part in our developments for the year ahead, with the launch of ‘TC Co-Pilot'. The initiative will automate certain daily tasks, such as alerting Travel Counsellors when a customer’s typical booking period is approaching, and suggesting suitable products based on their previous bookings and hotel reviews.
The final area of focus will be to leverage the increased demand for corporate travel. Work in the pipeline includes enhanced new distribution capability (NDC), wider access to corporate hotel content, and the creation of an online booking tool. Leisure Travel Counsellors will also be encouraged to ask their client base if they also travel for work, and pass any leads over to our Corporate business owners. This will allow them to boost their earnings by taking a percentage of the profits in the first year of booking.
Are you excited about what the future has in store for our Travel Counsellors? If you want to be part of the longest-standing travel franchise, where you’ll be given all the tools, technology, and support you need to be successful and make your customers happy, we want to hear from you.
In addition to all the fantastic developments we’ve just mentioned, we also have big plans to grow and strengthen our community of travel entrepreneurs in 2024. We’d love to welcome you into our family, so get in touch to take control of your future.