Did you know that every new Travel Counsellor is assigned a mentor for the first six months of their journey? We believe this is a hugely vital part of setting our franchisees up for success, while giving our more established business owners the chance to make a real difference to our new joiners.
But don’t just take our word for it. We recently spoke to new Travel Counsellor, Emma Jones, and her mentor, Leia Morales, to find out how they have both gained from the experience. Emma has just completed her first six months as a business owner, and has found Leia’s knowledge, wisdom and encouragement to be “genuinely invaluable”.
Hi Emma – congratulations on your six-month milestone! What’s your relationship with Leia like?
Leia is a great mentor who has now become a great friend. We chat every day, about both work and life in general!
How has Leia guided and supported you since you became a franchisee?
Her guidance has truly felt like a continuation of my training from the Travel Academy programme, which is the route I came in on as I have no previous experience within the travel industry.
At the start, I felt very confident creating quotes and making bookings through Phenix, but Leia has also helped me gain confidence on how to best utilise destination management companies, third-party suppliers, and tour operators.
Without a doubt, this has allowed me to price myself more competitively and therefore secure more bookings. Leia always finds time in her busy days (and evenings!) to support me. She has definitely helped me to stay positive, especially when I’m dealing with customers who are a little bit tricky.
How important has having a mentor been for you?
I’ve genuinely found it invaluable. Leia is worth her weight in gold and I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am today without her.
What’s the best piece of advice Leia has given to you?
The best piece of advice she’s given me is to know my worth, and to clearly explain the value I can offer to each client.
Why do you think the mentoring programme for new Travel Counsellors is so important?
Coming through the Travel Academy and having no previous experience in travel is quite daunting. I wouldn’t consider myself easily phased, but becoming a ‘newbie’ again at the age of 40 definitely felt strange. Leia undoubtedly helped me to feel confident that I was on the right track, and that everything would be fine.
Having a mentor allows for a much smoother transition into your new career from your induction and ongoing training. It’s just so lovely to have someone who can double-check things with you when you come across something that you’re doing for the first time.
Thanks Emma, it’s great to know that Leia has made such a huge impact on you. Let’s hear things from Leia’s perspective.
Hi Leia! What’s the best thing about mentoring new Travel Counsellors?
It’s just great to see their businesses grow and watch them succeed. Emma has achieved so much in a short time.
Why did you want to become a mentor?
I was a team leader in the travel company I was working for before I joined Travel Counsellors. I became a Travel Counsellor in March 2020, and because of the pandemic, I didn’t have the start to running my business that I had hoped for.
That being said, I had 10 years of experience in travel that was useful to some of the newer Travel Counsellors who had to deal with the world shutting down. I was helping people as much as I could on an informal basis. After my own business grew, and I had more experience with the Travel Counsellors systems, I felt confident that I had the skills needed to be a mentor.
What have you gained from being Emma’s mentor?
I’ve made a friend. Emma has also introduced me to the rest of her training group. I find that the more Travel Counsellors you get to meet, it makes running your own business that much more enjoyable.
I’ve also learned a lot from Emma as her business is different to mine. She has had different opportunities presented to her in the last six months, and we’ve worked together to find solutions and grow her business. As a result, I will be working in her team in the future to manage a large corporate account as I branch out my own business to work across both leisure and business travel.
Her background in events and her use of social media has also made me think about different ways in which I can grow my business. Learning is definitely a two-way street.
What would your advice be to people who are thinking of joining Travel Counsellors, but who don’t have any experience?
I admire everyone who comes through the Travel Academy as it’s a huge step to change careers. However, Emma is proof that you can be really successful with the support of the Travel Counsellors community. Although we all run our own businesses, you’re never really on your own.
Whatever you’ve done before, there are skills that you can transfer to running your own travel business. And if you have worked in travel, then Travel Counsellors can offer you so much more flexibility than any other travel business.
Do you want to join a travel franchise where you’ll be truly supported to succeed? Look no further than Travel Counsellors! Our New Franchise team are on hand to answer your questions and get you on the path to becoming your own boss. Get in touch for a friendly chat about your future goals.