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Say hello to Julia, who’s helping to bring the next generation of travel talent into our community

As part of our ‘Meet the Franchise Sales Team’ series, we caught up with Julia Speed to learn more about her background in recruiting graduates – a skillset she’s now utilising here at Travel Counsellors as she heads up our Academy Scholarship Programme.

Julia Speed

Julia shares an insight into her career, as well as her top tips if you’re keen to join our growing community of passionate travel entrepreneurs.

Hi Julia! Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve worked for Travel Counsellors for just over three years. I live in Worcestershire, and I have a huge passion for travel - which started from a young age! I’ve been lucky enough to go on some wonderful trips with family and friends. I also previously worked for Disney on one of their cruise ships for two-and-a-half years, sailing around the Caribbean!

How did you get into recruitment?

My recruitment journey started about 12 years ago in my previous company when I was promoted to a talent acquisition specialist role for their graduate scheme. I spent my time on university campuses speaking with students, hosting events, networking and facilitating the recruitment process, conducting interviews, and facilitating assessment centres. I loved being part of the candidate journey as they started in their new career.

During the pandemic, I decided it was time for a new challenge, so I took a leap of faith and moved into travel. Travel Counsellors appealed as their values and culture matched my own, so I knew instantly we would be a great fit. I started out recruiting for our support teams, and two years ago I moved across to our franchise sales team bringing in new Travel Counsellors to our community.

What’s the best part of your job?

It’s a real privilege to be part of the journey when a candidate takes that first daunting step to go self-employed and set up their travel business. I’m here every step of the way to guide, reassure, offer help, support, and answer all of their questions. There is no better feeling than when you have helped change someone’s life for the better and you can watch their new business flourish!

What’s been your highlight since joining Travel Counsellors?

A real highlight for me has been heading up our new Academy Scholarship Programme which I helped create due to my background in graduate recruitment. We want to attract the next generation of Travel Counsellors to our ever-growing community, so it will be hugely exciting to see this programme grow over the coming years.

What can prospective new joiners expect from the recruitment process?

When someone is considering a career change and looking to set up their own business, they can be assured that we will be there to support every step of the way. We are here to answer their many questions and ensure they are in a good place financially to support themselves as they grow the business.

Most importantly, it's about them being confident that it’s the right time for them and their family - so we always work at their pace. We offer the reassurance that they will never be alone and have a whole support network around them. This starts with me, our team of trainers, our business coaches, their dedicated mentor, our 350 support team members at our Support Hub, and our global community of over 2000 Travel Counsellors. They always have someone to reach out to for help and support as and when they need it.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own travel business?

It’s a big step, but I always ensure they are not putting pressure on themselves, particularly in that first year as it takes time to build up their client base. They need to have the support of their family and friends as they will be their biggest cheerleaders. Think about their network and how they will go out and win new business. Most importantly, find out their ‘why’ - what is their motivation for doing it as this will need to be kept in the forefront of their mind through the highs and inevitable lows that running your own business brings.

What do you think sets Travel Counsellors apart from other franchises?

At Travel Counsellors, we care more than anyone else. We strive to be the best at what we do, and we want to bring like-minded entrepreneurs on the journey with us. We’ve been in business for 30 years, so we know a thing or two! We have fantastic relationships with our supplier partners that enable us to provide the best products so our Travel Counsellors can craft bespoke, tailor-made itineraries for their customers.

Also, our tech is world-class. Our booking system is bespoke to Travel Counsellors and has been created with the Travel Counsellor and customer at the forefront to ensure it makes everyone’s life easier. The myTC app is a godsend when travelling. I used it myself on a recent holiday and all of my information and documents were housed in one place, at my fingertips - which is just what you need when travelling!

Overall, everything we do always has the customer and Travel Counsellor at the heart of it. This has got us to where we are today and will continue to help us grow and flourish for the next 30 years and beyond!

Whether you’ve recently graduated, are looking for a career change, or are a seasoned travel professional, Julia and her team can help you decide whether becoming a Travel Counsellor is right for you. Enquire today for an informal chat with a member of our Franchise Sales team and let’s see where your entrepreneurial drive and passion for travel could take you.

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