Travel Counsellors appoints first Chief Operating Officer

Mark O’Donoghue joins Travel Counsellors as Chief Operating Officer. He is the former CEO of digital learning solutions provider AVADO Learning.

Mark’s appointment comes as Travel Counsellors celebrated its 25th year of operation and more than 17 consecutive years of double-digit growth. During November 2018 – 2019, Travel Counsellors saw a record high of R12,35M (£650m) in sales and welcomed more than 300 new Travel Counsellor franchisee owners top the business.

With more than 20 years’ experience leading disruptive digital platform businesses, Mark’s appointment will focus on enabling the continued success of Travel Counsellors franchisees, having transformed his previous company into the UK’s leading platform provider of online learning, increasing sales fourfold over a five-year period.

Growth at AVADO Learning was further boosted under Mark’s leadership by a focus on talent development, digital marketing and data science through forging new partnerships and bespoke-built solutions with the CIPD, Google and Tableau.

In 2019 Travel Counsellors invested up to R133M (£7m) in technology enhancements, including the continuous development of ‘my TC’, the company’s dedicated app which supports Travel Counsellors’ business owners to nurture close relationships with their customers through being instantly contactable at the touch of a button. This investment in technology is also enhancing the company’s in-house booking platform, Phenix, with further development directed towards a ‘TC recommendation engine’, enabling the company’s Travel Counsellors to search through thousands of travel suppliers to tailor-make bespoke itineraries tuned to their customers preferences, as recommended by previous customers’ experiences and fellow Travel Counsellors.

“Mark’s previous experience in leading the growth of digital learning and technology-focussed businesses, and passion for empowering talented people with the latest innovations in technology, offers the perfect blend as we continue to support travel professionals to re-define what personal service means in the travel industry, by showing the greatest levels of care to their customers every day.”

Mark O’Donoghue, newly-appointed COO at Travel Counsellors, adds: “Travel Counsellors has developed a highly innovative and successful business model, built on the company’s passion for putting people first. The potential for adding to the brilliant human engagement that lies at the heart of the Travel Counsellors model with a wider set of digital platform functions, is incredibly exciting.

“I’m looking forward to working with the driven, ambitious support and tech teams to enable our Travel Counsellor business owners to be the very best they can be, through the continued development and improvement of the company’s technology platform, including the application of data science and enhanced customer insights to further support the growth of their businesses.”

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