Returning to the industry I love: Mebs Merchant's Travel Counsellors journey.

My passion for travel started from my early school days, and after college I spent my first 10 years working for two of the world’s most renowned airlines. The following 10 years saw me running my own business and leisure travel agency. By this point I’d been in the travel industry for 20 years, so I decided to explore other pastures. That’s when I started a new career in the financial and property industry where I stayed for the next 17 years.

After spending a long time in property and financial services I decided to spend the rest of my career back with my first love and passion – the travel industry! After more than a year looking at different options and other travel franchise opportunities during my own due diligence process, I found Travel Counsellors to be the winners as far as ethos and technology were concerned.

“I knew this was where my future was going to be”

When I visited Venus (Travel Counsellors Head Office) for my interview, my initial findings had proved to be correct! I saw the high-tech, modern office, and met friendly and genuine people in the team. Not to mention seeing the CEO of the company working hard from his “open door” office. I knew this was where my future was going to be!

And, I knew that with my expertise and travel knowledge, the support of the 1,600 strong network of Travel Counsellors worldwide, and the company brand and ethos, I was going to make a big success of my travel business. And today, just over 5 weeks as a Travel Counsellor, I feel very happy that I made that decision!

“I am not on my own, and I have a Head Office team of 300 to support me”

The biggest challenge for me was going to be working from home, on my own. I’d previously had 5 members of staff in my office. But now I am very pleased to see that I am not on my own, and I have a Head Office team of 300 to support me, in addition to many Travel Counsellors around the UK and internationally. In a very short space of time I’ve developed good team support!

The initial training, which is ongoing, is invaluable. The first week of training is just right to get your mind going in the right direction. The follow up online training and webinars are awesome, and are proving very useful in building up my knowledge and expertise. Of course, a great deal of personal effort is required, but the support available at Head Office is priceless. So far, I have found each one eager and willing to go that extra mile to help me out.

“The technology available at Travel Counsellors was a deciding factor for me”

As I mentioned earlier, the technology available at Travel Counsellors was a deciding factor for me. I feel that they have got it right by investing in this direction, because this is what will set us apart from the crowd. Phenix is a unique system, and from what I understand, work is continually being done on it to fine tune and tweak it. It is a vast system and I have just managed to scratch the surface of it. However, once I have completely familiarised myself with Phenix, I am sure I’ll have a very big advantage in my favour.

(Phenix is our in-house booking system which gives Travel Counsellors access to thousands of suppliers and fantastic nett rates, giving them the ability to tailor-make bespoke itineraries for their customers. And instead of relying on commission from 3rd party suppliers, it allows them to control how much margin they add to their bookings).

The initial Phenix training and online learning modules have proved very useful for me. Every day I learn something new and feel confident about becoming proficient with the system in 3 months’ time. Again, whenever I get stuck, the fact that support and help is only a call away goes a long way in helping me during this learning curve.

“I have no regrets and I am sure I will never regret joining Travel Counsellors”

For those looking to become independent travel professionals, I believe becoming a Travel Counsellor is the way forward. With limited investment and overheads, one would enjoy the benefits available to very large organisations. Having said that, an individual will require a lot of perseverance, efforts and patience to achieve success and one should have realistic goals to avoid disappointment. The bottom line is that personal efforts will be the key to success. No technology or support can replace individual efforts and hard work. Of course, with the technology and support available to Travel Counsellors, it would make the initial and onward success highly achievable. So far, I have no regrets and I am sure I will never regret joining Travel Counsellors!

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Meet Travel Counsellor, Sally Murray


Berkshire-based Travel Counsellor Sally Murray joined us in January 2018 on our Return to Travel programme. We caught up with Sally to find out why she decided to start her own home-based travel business.

Meet Travel Counsellor, Joanne Grogan


The main reason I became a Travel Counsellor is my love of travel and organisation. I spend time putting together trips for friends and family, and after taking voluntary redundancy I wanted to go back to doing something I love.