Travel Counsellor Aisling Duignan has been in many businesses over the years while she reared her family; all were in hospitality. She now she believes that she is where she is supposed to be at this stage in her life, surrounded by the right people and sees a bright future for herself arranging travel for her vast group of friends.
“I am from the Sutton/Howth peninsula area of Co Dublin. I am very lucky to have lived in this beautiful peninsula all my life. I have been married to my husband Sean for the past 26 years and we have three children, Richard, Emily and Michael and not forgetting the dog Frankie. I have been very lucky to have travelled with my family all over the world from Los Angeles to Australia and most places in between. I find it hard to pick a favourite travel destination, but I suppose Japan would be my stand-out experience with Australia coming in a close second.
Most of my working life has been in the hospitality industry but about 4 years ago I decided to upskill and do a course in Travel Tourism and Airline Studies in Sallynoggin College of further Education. I started working with Shannon Heritage in Malahide Castle & Gardens, then with two tour operators over the past 3 years, before joining Travel Counsellors in September 2019.
I was familiar with Travel Counsellors and had used them to book some of my own travel. Meeting Cathy Burke to chat about potentially becoming a Travel Counsellor was like a breath of fresh air and very inspirational for me. I finally felt that I had found the place where I needed to be, and I have yet to be disappointed. At times running your own business can be overwhelming - one minute you are on a high having secured a booking and the next day you are thinking where is the next booking going to come from, but there is great support from the Head Office in Cork. The team there always offer encouragement and support. Not forgetting to mention the support in the UK office… there really is no shortage of help at hand. Although you are essentially working alone from home, you are never alone. You couldn’t meet a friendlier, more helpful bunch of people than my fellow Travel Counsellors.
I also love the flexibility of being able to work from home. My parents need a bit of looking after and it’s nice to be able to help them from day to day. My youngest son will do his leaving cert next year and it’s lovely to be here when he comes home from school.
I play tennis and golf and have lived in the Sutton/Howth area all my life, so I know a lot of people locally and through my sports. I am really pushing my name out there in the local area. I have embraced Social Media thanks to the marketing team in Cork and have found that very useful in spreading the word and getting my name out there too.
I just love everything to do with Travel Counsellors – the business model, the brand, our booking system Phenix, the training provided, the events such as TC on Tour and the educational trips. I suppose if I was to single out one highlight so far it would be the launch of MSC Grandiosa. I am looking forward to attending my first Irish Conference and to go on a Uniworld ship visit in Amsterdam next month too.”