Meet Clare – Not even Covid-19 was going to stop me from starting my own travel business

*Covid-19 has thrown some curve balls in me getting my travel franchise started, but its all happening now. I knew from school days that my future career needed to include travel. *

Clare de Weijer has started her travel franchise with Travel Counsellors. She is completing her induction online and we caught up with Clare to find out more about herself and her journey to becoming a Travel Counsellor.

What is your background and where did you work before becoming a Travel Counsellor? Whilst in school I was unsure of what I wanted to do when I finished Matric, but I knew it had to involve travel. They say that if you love what you do you never work a day in your life... this isn't entirely true! In travel we work, and we work hard, yet I do love what I do, and I love sending people to places that they long to go. I love planning, packaging and experiencing all the excitement that goes with arranging a holiday. The best part is hearing about their adventures when they return. Before I joined Travel Counsellor’s I worked for a large TMC where I was employed for almost 15 years. Having joined as a domestic consultant, straight out of college, to ending my journey with them as part of the management team. My love for travel took me to the UK where I lived and worked for 2 years. During this time, I worked for SAA and Air Namibia.

Tell us a little bit about yourself Other than being a TC my superpowers include being a mom and wife. My husband, Alex, and I have been together for 15 years, married for nearly 3 years. We have a beautiful little boy, Sebastian, who is the light of our life and cannot wait to share our love for travel with him.

Having lived in East London for most of our life, our family is very close. We recently moved to Cape Town and are very excited to explore our new hometown and everything it has to offer. Although we are no longer in East London, distance is not something we are unfamiliar with. We have become a global family with my sister and her family living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, my brother and his family live in Perth, Australia and my husband’s family live in Germany. Being a travel consultant is almost an essential service in our family :-) Hobbies include travel, travel and baking. Countries that I have visited: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Scotland, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Egypt, Croatia, Mauritius, Thailand, Indonesia...

What will becoming a Travel Counsellor mean to you? For me, becoming a TC will mean a better work-life balance and being able to offer my clients more of my time. Having been on the management team at my previous employer, I found that most of my day was spent on admin orientated tasks. This did not benefit myself or my clients. Now as a Travel Counsellor I will have the time to dedicate to my customers.

What motivated you to start your own travel business? My husband started a new position in Cape Town and made the move from East London. I considered a few positions online, but they all offered the same work environment that I already had. None offered the flexibility that I needed. Being in a new city I wanted the flexibility to adapt and adjust to the changes that we were going to have to go through. I didn't want to work an 8-5 and deal with Cape Town traffic. I also wanted to determine my own income.

What are you looking forward to most about being a Travel Counsellor? Flexibility and being responsible for my own earnings. I look forward to meeting other TC's, making use of the online learning platforms and being part of the TC team.

Have you started planning how you will grow your business/find new customers, and if so how? Yes, but lockdown has thrown a curve ball, so this is all in review. I do have some ideas that I will be considering.

What do you love most about working in the travel industry? I love the excitement of the travel industry. Right from the very first phone call/email/visit, to hearing all their stories when they come home. The excitement of not knowing what the day will bring and the challenges that the industry throws at us! (Although exhausting, we all love it!)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Alaska or the Baltics. I would love to see the Northern lights with my family.

Do you have the same passion for travel as Clare? Are you needing flexibility in your life? Do you love offering your customers a personalised service? Why not get in touch to discover how Travel Counsellor could support your business venture as a TC Franchisee.

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