We recently caught up with Dom Pokropek, who recently celebrated his sixth anniversary as a business Travel Counsellor, having honed his skills and knowledge working in the corporate division of a high-street travel agency. His previous experience helped him to build his reputation among clients in the marine, oil, and gas industries – and now he has the freedom to run his own business, while providing outstanding levels of service to businesses in those sectors.
Dom discusses what he loves about being a Travel Counsellor, what he thinks sets us apart from other travel management companies, and why he’d recommend becoming a franchisee to anyone currently working in corporate travel.
Lovely to meet you, Dom! What were you doing before you became a Travel Counsellor?
After many years of globetrotting, I first worked in travel for a well-known high-street travel agency selling holidays. About 14 years ago, I moved to the corporate division of the same company and worked my way up to team leader of a business travel team. I decided to end that journey and joined Travel Counsellors in December 2017.
How did you develop your niche in working with clients in the marine, oil, and gas industries?
I first worked with marine clients in my previous role. The marine industry has unique travel needs, often requiring multiple travellers, travelling from multiple destinations on complex itineraries and tight time schedules. They often need to book or make changes at very short notice. Clients in the marine industry are also eligible for special fares which give greater flexibility, allowing for delays to a vessel they may be departing or joining. I developed a reputation for outstanding service, while delivering cost-effective travel solutions in such a demanding environment.
Through liaising closely with my clients, I understood the time pressures and uncertainties they were under. They appreciated my knowledge of the marine and travel industry, and the fact I made myself available while crew changes were happening - regardless of the time of day or day of week – just in case any last-minute changes occurred. Because of the reputation I’ve gained in this industry, most of my marine clients are referrals.
What do you like best about being a Travel Counsellor?
Being a Travel Counsellor means I’m not constrained to office hours, and I don’t have to hand over to an external team outside these hours. My clients know if there is a crew change at the weekend or in the evening, a colleague or I will be available to cover all eventualities. When dealing with such logistically complex itineraries, it’s very important to have one point of contact who knows the ongoing situation and can assist with last-minute changes. Travel Counsellors provide an excellent technological platform to facilitate how I service my clients.
But, the thing I love most is the Travel Counsellors community. I feel every single Travel Counsellor would do whatever it takes to help another business owner, be it passing on knowledge, advice, or assisting with bookings or emergency changes. We’re always available to each other when required, regardless of the time of day.
What do you think sets Travel Counsellors apart from other travel management companies?
We really get to know our corporate clients and all their travellers, taking a personal interest in our client’s business. We realise that every client is different and has differing requirements, and that one way of working or one travel management style does not suit all companies. Regular visits enable us to get to know companies, bookers, and travellers, so we can build strong relationships.
As a result, we can offer a bespoke travel management service tailored to each individual client’s needs, while being fluid enough to evolve and adapt our service as our clients grow and their needs change. I think that’s quite unique in the travel management industry.
What’s been your secret to success in terms of growing your business?
I’ve embraced all ways of working. I work on some larger accounts in teams with other franchisees, as these accounts have the volume of bookings that require more than one travel consultant. In these cases, we can hand-pick and build a team specifically to service that particular client.
I also work with business development managers to win new business. Our BDMs are the best in the business. They play a vital role in promoting the award-winning travel management service we offer.
Finally, as previously mentioned, I’m very proud of the fact that a significant amount of my business has come from referrals where my clients are so happy with my service, they have recommended me to other companies that they work with. I feel this is a wonderful endorsement of the service I provide.
It’s been great hearing about your journey, Dom. Finally, how would you describe the tools and tech available to Travel Counsellors?
It's great that we have a large technology department at our support centre. This means there is constant work, development, and improvement to both our in-house booking tools and also the client-facing technology. Our technology team allows us to be at the forefront with the latest tech upgrades. I’m really looking forward to seeing the updated Corporate myTC app, our new reporting suite, and online booking tool, all of which will offer massive benefits to our clients.
Would you like to follow in Dom’s footsteps and transfer your existing knowledge of business travel to running your own franchise? As a Business Travel Counsellor, not only will you benefit from the best support and training in the industry, you’ll also be supported by our team of business development managers to help ensure your desk is always busy. Just imagine where 2024 could take you. Ready to become your own boss? Enquire today and we’ll be in touch to tell you more about the opportunity we can offer you.