Justine has completed her 5 day induction training at our Cape Town head office. We caught up with her to learn more about her journey to becoming a Travel Counsellor.
What is your background and where did you work before becoming a Travel Counsellor?
I started my career in travel at Rennies Travel in Welkom in 1991. It was a small agency, with only 3 consultants in a Retail Shopping Centre. Working in a small agency meant that it was the best way for me to learn everything. I moved to Rennies in Cape Town and worked at their in-house at Old Mutual in Pinelands for a while. I then moved to Pretoria and worked at their CSIR in-house. I felt I needed a change so in 1999 I left corporate travel to try leisure. I worked at Seekers Travel in Fourways and became the Leisure Unit Manager. I moved back to Pretoria and I worked at Magic Travel as the Manager of their Menlyn Park Shopping Centre Store. A year later the store signed a joint venture with the Automobile Association. This became the 1st Travel Experience store which sold travel and the AA products. The store was taken over by a BEE Company in 2009.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm married to my bestie Quintin for 13 years and we have 3 children - Madison who is 11 year & the twins Liam and McKenna who are 7 years old. We have always loved dogs and always had Chows. We have our black chow Luna who is the best. We also have fish and a crested gecko - Rocky. Our son's soul feeds on the outdoors, so we have many weekends away to mountains, rivers and savannas. I am of course busy with family and kids and their sport schedules. I love to read a good crime novel and enjoy time spent with friends.
I have enjoyed my travels to Vic Falls, Malawi and Egypt. UK and the USA have been fun as our besties live in Denver Colorado. Brazil was a highlight with Iguassu Falls and the Amazon! I love cruising from a local cruise to European cruises. I have also been to Mauritius several times. It is always fun and restful.
What does becoming a Travel Counsellor mean for you?
I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with my kids. When I was running a retail store, there were many administrative duties, that took me away from selling travel
Travel Counsellors business model allows me to dedicate my time to my customers and to offer them the best service possible. As a Travel Counsellor I want to say hello to more of what I love and I say good bye to the staff schedules, store maintenance and managing staff. I know that with a better work-life balance and and more time with my family will help me to be the best that I can be.
What motivated you to start your own travel business?
Petrone is a friend and ex colleague. She is a Travel Counsellor and works from home. We have always remained friends. I have always envied her lifestyle in travel versus my rushed and ever present 24/7 / 363 days a year retail store travel experience. The timing was right for me to say goodbye to the noise and to become a Travel Counsellor where I can reap all the benefits. This is an exciting change for me
What are you most looking forward to being a Travel Counsellor?
I am looking forward to having more time to do what I do best. I will have more time to spend on my customers and I know that I will be able to deliver a better customer service. Now I can love more of what I love most.
Have you set yourself any goals or milestones for what you want to achieve in your first year?
Well for certain I want to make a success of my business. In my first year I want to learn and use all the tools that I have at my disposal. I am looking forward to being able to offer my customers a concierge travel service. I want to grow my business and to gain new customers. I look forward to meeting other like-minded Travel Counsellors, who can help and inspire me too. It is a goal of mine to earn more running my own business than when I salaried. Becoming a Gold Travel Counsellor is also a goal of mine too.
Have you started planning how you will grow your business? Networking with my customers and friends. Using digital tools like social media to engage with customers. I'm looking forward to being able to deliver a Taking time to see customers at their offices and hand delivering documents to personalise my travel journey with them will be a wonderful opportunity.
What do you love most about working in the travel industry?
I think people are a big part of the travel industry and so colleagues and customers and friends are an integral part of what I do each day. But of course also to live vicariously through my customers is also something I love. I love researching and finding something that would perfectly suit a customer and then having them give feedback about how fantastic the journey they experienced was. I think to me travel feeds my soul and I dont have to actually do it all the time - just living it each day is how I breathe. Another aspect is that no day or year is the same. Change is our constant and maybe that too is addictive in travel.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Bucket lists and the list is long. I have always wanted to do more of lakes, mountains and National Parks. I love the beauty of the Canadian Rockies and the awsome National Parks of the USA. But then we have amazing places in Africa that need to be explored too. I think top of the list for now is the Canadian Rockies for the incredible natural beauty and so that I can drink in Gods Creation and explore soul-filled moments of natural beauty and drink my full on moments that fill my cup to overflowing.
*We always like to share our Travel Counsellors' journeys as they build their business; would you be happy for our marketing team to contact you in the future? *