At Travel Counsellors, our success is built on the fact that our business model is flexible, scale-able and proven. At the last count, we’d identified no less than 15 different ways of working among our creative Travel Counsellor community - what we call ‘Operating Models’. So, it’s definitely not a case of ‘one size fits all’.
Here are just some of the different ways Travel Counsellors run their businesses:
Many Travel Counsellors up and down the country share office spaces so they keep that team spirit that they loved when working at their previous job. Formby-based Travel Counsellor, Dave Griffin, works with fellow TC’s, Dean, Louise and David. They’ve just moved into brand new offices, after several successful years of working from the same premises.
Why do it?
Sharing premises has allowed each of the TCs to run their own businesses, but also to pool their efforts and take on larger accounts that they simply wouldn’t have been able to service on their own. In Brighton, Travel Counsellor Tim Fitzgerald works from a buzzy co-working space, where other local TC’s pop along to hot-desk alongside him as and when it suits them. The best of all worlds!
Our most successful Corporate Travel Counsellor, Antony Guy, passes over a number of leads he receives to fellow Travel Counsellor, Becky Stephenson.
Why do it?
Lead-sharing enables you to promote a streamlined service across multiple markets - a ‘one-stop shop’ - as you might not be an expert in all types of travel. Antony, whose focus is Corporate clients, says: ‘I’m not comfortable booking Leisure, but I want to ensure I offer a complete service to my clients.’ So, with lead share, you know you’ll never need to turn business away.
TC Assistant is where a Travel Counsellor employs a trusted assistant to help with running their business. This person is often a family member, friend or ex-colleague.
Why do it?
Employing a TC Assistant frees you up to spend time with your clients. The role of the Assistant is to support with admin, marketing and all things ‘back-office’, but they stop short of making bookings - that’s your job. Travel Counsellor, Lorri Leeman, who employs her daughter, Samantha, says: ‘It’s an investment. Employing Samantha has enabled me to spend more time with customers, and I’ve even increased my margin thanks to her encouragement.’
Travel Counsellors Lynne Jordan and Jenni Bradnam operate successfully this way. Why do it? It brings reciprocal benefits and plays to both Travel Counsellor’s different strengths. The set-up is a bit like TC Assistant, but here duties are shared between two franchisees, rather than by a TC and an Assistant. You have a formalised arrangement with a fellow Travel Counsellor who can manage and process bookings for you, cover you if you go on holiday and speak to customers and suppliers on your behalf.
As TC Kashan Ashwell’s business grew from strength to strength, her husband, Andrew, left his job as Management Accountant to come and work with her. Why do it? To share responsibilities and spread the workload. Having someone there to ‘hold the fort’ - to be a second ‘you’, almost! Kashan says, ‘I needed help and was ready to hire someone. Then I thought, why not ask Andrew to come and work with me!’
Corporate Account Sharing
Travel Counsellors, Kevin Harber and Kim Wiltshire, had been colleagues for over 40 years before joining Travel Counsellors together as a team. Although they are separate branches, they share accounts and all commissions, with each drawing a salary from the business.
Why do it?
The benefits include joint knowledge of all accounts and clients, so both TC’s are equally equipped to handle all clients and bookings, ensuring a seamless continuity of service all the time, including when one of them is away. Kevin says, ‘The TC business model is ideal as it’s so flexible. Although the support is there, we make all the decisions. It works for us.’
Hear from Kevin here