Meet Lynn Davis who has opened her travel franchise with Travel Counsellors. Lynn was scheduled to start her induction training shortly after returning from Travel Counsellors Conference. Covid-19 had arrived in South Africa and our government put us in Level 5 of lockdown where all flights where grounded and we were confined to stay home.
1 June marked the ease into Level 3 of Lockdown, and what is exciting is that some corporate travel will be allowed to take place. Lynn joined her induction group online to do her training. We caught up with Lynn to find out more about herself and her journey in starting her own travel business.
What is your background and where did you work before becoming a Travel Counsellor? I have been in the travel industry for 21 years. I began my career in my hometown, Cape Town working at a leisure travel agency based at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. As this is a tourist location, all stores had to operate "mall hours." Sometimes this meant a 12-hour working day from Monday to Sunday.
Even though this was my first job, it was where my determination for development and growth stemmed. The company threw us into the deep end so we could gain knowledge on all products. I had a thirst for knowledge and promotion, so I dived into the deep end and learnt to swim in this ever-changing industry. After 15 months, I decided to get experience in the corporate travel sector. This road led me to various Travel Management Companies. My clients ranged from government, to state owned enterprises and to blue chip companies. Over the last 19 years, I consulted and managed a team. It is now time for me to put all my experience to good use and to start my own travel business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself I've been married for 19 years to my husband Jerome and we have two children, Zoe aged 17 and Connor aged 14. Our family is complete with our fur babies Charlie and Snoopy. I love cooking, baking, going to gym, gardening, especially using my own produce in the kitchen. Jigsaw puzzles is a new favourite since the lockdown. I have travelled to Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Seychelles, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Antwerp & to the Vatican City. I have also travelled extensively through South Africa.
What will becoming a Travel Counsellor mean to you? Becoming a Travel Counsellor franchisee will allow me to offer my clients an array of personalised travel services, at a touch of the button. When attending the Travel Counsellors recruitment roadshow and while shadowing one of the TCs, I was blown away by the technology. With this superior technology at my disposal, I will have the freedom to work from anywhere. It is important to me that I can fetch and collect my two teenagers from school and from extra murals. I love that I will now be able to attend a school event which I could not always do before. Having a work-life balance is very important to me, all the while still offering my customers the best service. Setting clear expectations is key. I believe by doing this from the onset of my business, that I will be able to achieve a work-life balance. Being able to write my own pay cheque is of course another positive.
What motivated you to start your own travel business? Office politics for sure. Being in an office with so many strong-willed women often leads to petty disagreements. The hierarchy in business and red tape become unbearable. I came to the stage in my life where I needed to make decisions for my future and for the future of my kids. I needed to be in control of my destiny. At my previous company I would need to prepare business plans, set targets and set a plan on how to achieve those targets for the profit of the business. As a TC franchisee, I can now do this for myself. When employed in an office environment, we tend to work many hours overtime, yet we get paid the same salary.
What are you looking forward to most about being a Travel Counsellor? The people! I attended the Travel Counsellors Conference in March. Being surrounded by mature, motivating and kind individuals - was what cemented my decision to become a Travel Counsellor.
The systems - Phenix, Coach, the introduction to the intranet - I'm very keen to start using these tools. The pre-learning itself has been incredible. The coach platform is superior to any other LMS I have used.
With Covid-19 in play, I know that the restart of travel will of be slow, but it will give me the time to learn and to build the necessary foundations. I look forward to being, my own boss. I want to take responsibility for my business, to hold myself accountable and to not be dependent on someone else.
Have you set yourself any goals or milestones for what you want to achieve in your first year?
- I would like to reach a gross margin of 10% (minimum.)
- Be able to cover expenses for the first 6 months and thereafter being able to investment
- I would like to win the 'Best New Starter TC' award.
- I want to make my business known in my community.
- I want to meet new people who could be potential clients.
Have you started planning how you will grow your business/find new customers, and if so how? We belong to a big church community. The parishioners travel often, and some are business owners and CEOs of businesses. I have had some conversations with regards to leisure and business travel.
Family and friends know that I will be starting my business soon. Once my social media pages are up and running, I look forward to using these to spread the word.
Picking up the phone and calling customers will be important.
Consistent marketing would be crucial to my business.
What do you love most about working in the travel industry? I love learning about new destinations & travelling to new destinations. Being on top of the latest developments in travel, our industry is ever changing and staying up to date is crucial. I love being part of making a customer’s dream come true. Travellers save for many months to go on a once in a lifetime trip. Be it an Indian Ocean Island vacation or visiting a relative they have not seen in years and so being part of that process is amazing. Nothing beats a repeat happy customer singing your praises and recommending me to their friends.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? I would love to return to Paris. Our last trip was rushed, and we did not get a chance to fully experience the city. I would spend at least 3 full days in the Spring. My perfect first day in Paris would be to summit the Eiffel Tower, followed by a light lunch at one of those cafe's, sitting outside and watching people go about their business. This would be followed by a visit to the Sacre Coure and dinner at one of the fine restaurants. A day shopping on the Champs Elysees would be ideal, that is if our currency would be strong enough. Day 3 would be spent at the Louvre and getting in some extra steps by taking a walk through the city and using the hop-on-hop-off bus. This would be great after learning a bit of French before embarking on this trip.
If you too can relate to Lynn's journey and if you would like to explore the journey in becoming a Travel Counsellor franchisee then please get in touch.