Travel is my passion. I've always dreamed of spending a year travelling the world in high standard hotels at the best locations. I love new experiences and enjoy indulging in local cultures - I especially like informative tours but mixed with some relaxing time.
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I was a stay at home Mum which I loved but wanted something for myself too. I finally made the decision to join when I read about our Financial Protection... It made me realise that we really care about the customer and being professional. It also proved to me that we're serious about longevity and being genuinely customer-focused which was hugely important to me.
I was so surprised about how many lovely people you meet and make incredible friendships with - It's hard to believe now that I thought it would be lonely. I got my first booking within just a week of joining - a referral from an ex-colleague at Thomas Cook who still books with me today and have continued to build special relationships with every one of my customers - I have a couple of clients that call me their Travel Angel - I like that!
Today, I have a great business with great customers and earn a very decent income as well as having a great relationship with other Travel Counsellors. Plus, I still get to see my kids play rugby or football or get to see that special class assembly. If you are prepared to work hard then the rewards are worth it - I feel really blessed!
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I was a Business Development Manager for a TMC but I felt totally uninspired.
What struck me first about Travel Counsellors was the professional excellence - We're a company that holds customer service at the core of everything we do. No-one does it better. On a personal level, I was looking for financial and personal independence which I've most certainly found.
I'll never forget my first booking - it was around 1 week after my training and if I recall correctly, was for £1 294.77. It was liberating beyond words.
I'm always there for my clients. I once had 5 directors stranded at Philadelphia in a snow storm. Even though it was 2am UK time, they knew I would be there for them. I immediately arranged hotels and everything they needed to get home. I now get all their EMEA business. Being there for your customers when they are in need speaks volumes and the rewards are endless. They never forget it.
It felt incredible to achieve Gold status in my first year and since then, my business has continued to go from strength to strength. I really feel as though life has granted me a second breath of fresh air and I can honestly say I am the happiest I have ever been in my career. I love the Travel Counsellors ethos and feel like I have made a massive amount of new friends, rather than colleagues. Joining has enabled me to literally change my life and that of my family. I just kick myself every day for not joining sooner.
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I was a Client Relations Manager but felt stressed most of the time. There were just too many hours and I had absolutely no control over how I managed my own staff as senior management always wanted it their way. I felt like I wasn't listened to.
What has surprised me most is that business development and other Travel Counsellors are always happy to help and rally around if you need anything. My life is now surrounded by a special network of supportive people and everyone is always so happy to give their time with no gain for themselves - it speaks volumes about the kind of people that join us.
I love adventure - my dream getaway would be safari, spending time up close with the elephants. So when I got my first booking 4 weeks in, I was so excited to help a couple plan their honeymoon to Kenya worth £3500 - I couldn't believe it. I loved being able to spend the time with them to get every detail just right.
Since then, I have dedicated myself to going above and beyond for my customers. During the ash cloud crisis, I drove to a local supplier for train availability as they were not answering the phones. I sat in reception until someone would see me to get the answers I needed. Being a Travel Counsellor is about always going further than anyone else for your customer - that's why they keep coming back.
When I graduated from the Travel Counsellors Academy programme after 12 months, having booked an incredible £120k worth of sales in my first year, I felt like I could take on the world. What's more, having the freedom to choose my own hours, without any pressure from Head Office to reach set targets and all the tools l need to make my business as success, I felt totally a home... literally!
All this, coupled with hard work and ambition, had made it really work for me. I love what I do.
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I was a National Account Manager for Unipart. I had felt restricted for years but the final tipping came when my best friend was made redundant. I longed for the opportunity to be my own boss and do things my way so Travel Counsellors seemed perfect.
17 days after joining, a gentleman called Christopher Day got in touch about a Flight-Only booking. It may have been small in monetary terms but it filled me with complete confidence that I could do this. I was so excited about what lay ahead. I remember thinking... 'If you love travel then why work for anyone else?'
Travel Counsellors can offer cutting edge technology from a dedicated IT team, amazing business development to suit anyone's style, targeted marketing that's personalised to you and a commercial team constantly striving to get the best deals with an in-house tour operator to give us great margin possibilities. On top of all that, the support and advice from over 700 like-minded people around the world makes it one very big, very happy family.
My customers love the way I'm able to give that personal touch too... A customer once said 'If you are looking for someone in the travel industry who genuinely goes the extra mile for his clients, then look no further than Mark Hallam'. That made me feel incredibly proud as they're the people that really matter!
I was so worried about finding customers and being able to close the sale but after becoming the first person from the Academy programme to hit a million in sales, I think it's safe to say I've overcome that fear! My only regret is not doing it sooner.
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I was a senior manager for a small travel agency and oversaw 2 of its 4 branch offices. Having worked there for years and making a lot of sacrifices, I returned to work after 8 months maternity leave. I was told Bank Holidays would be taken away from me in order that I work 4 days a week, which made me feel extremely let down as I knew there were other members of staff less senior than me who received them. It sounds insignificant now but that was the warning bell for me - it made me realise that my boss was willing to let me work long hours and look after her business like it was my own without any thought for the sacrifices I had to make for me and my family. I didn't want another 15-20 years to pass by and suddenly find my children all grown up, leaving home and be filled with regret that I'd stayed there. That's when I found Travel Counsellors.
Life as a Travel Counsellor is very busy and very demanding but it's an incredibly rewarding life. I love a challenge - that's really what I love about the job secretly as I would wither away if two days were the same. I still can't believe how quickly we move with the times but manage to stay friendly and professional. We're constantly moving forwards yet there's always time to make people feel respected and cared about.
My customers know I care because I remember everything they like or dislike - if it's important to them, it's important to me. I even remember when their children got married or their grandchildren's name. I try and make them feel like they are the most important people on my desk that day. It's the small things which make the greatest impression. I even have some customers who say I'm part of their family now - I love that.
The secret ingredient to being a great Travel Counsellor is always being available, interested, trustworthy and showing 100% that you care 100% of the time.
My own travel dream would be to visit the west coast of America, finishing off in Hawaii. We lived in America for a few years and fell in love but never made it to the West Coast and as the children are now bigger I love the idea of driving around to see all the areas.
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I was a working in the High Street for Thomson but I was fed up by the lack of service and choice being offered to customers. The tipping point came when I had to try to get more money from clients that couldn't afford it - it became more about targets than service and that's not what l believe in. I craved my own independence and the chance to deliver great customer service.
My first impressions of Travel Counsellors were simply... Amazing. It took me less than a month to join and got my first booking within just 6 days - it was for my friend's honeymoon for over £2000.00. I can remember every detail of the booking even today.
You won't believe what you can achieve with the right support and being surrounded by 100% positivity. Just look at what l have achieved within 18 months, when I started my business without a single customer. Today I have clients who call me their own personal Travel Angel who takes the stress out of the word Travel. It's so worth it.
During a client's first holiday in 5 years, I rung the hotel to get them upgraded for free and also got them a full sea view - when I called to check everything was fine, the lady burst into tears. I don't think there are many jobs which are as genuinely rewarding.
I've had lots of proud moments but I suppose one of the most memorable is being invited onto BBC Breakfast for International Women's Day this year and of course hitting £250,000 of sales in my first year in business - who can forget that!
I do have one great big regret... That I didn't do it sooner.
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I worked for another home-based Travel business but felt de-motivated and frustrated by the lack of Business Travel support. Travel Counsellors couldn't be more different.
When I first visited Travel Counsellors, I was swept away by how incredibly professional everything was, from the people to the tools - it blew me away, I couldn't wait to get started!
I've never come across such a supportive group of people, both at head office and other Travel Counsellors across the world. Everyone told me I could get Gold in my first year and spurred me on so much, it actually happened.
We're all different here and that's what makes it incredible - we're people like you and me but we do have one thing in common... a real determination to succeed. It's incredible what you can achieve if you believe in yourself and are surrounded by others who completely believe in you too.
I'd describe my life as a Travel Counsellor as enjoyable, hard work, rewarding, motivating, and fantastic. Don't waste another minute - change your life & live your dreams. I did.
Whether you're in a role on the high street, already working in travel from home or looking to return to travel after a break, take a peek at what becoming a home based Travel Counsellor could mean for you.
If you're currently in a corporate travel role, why not become a specialist Business Travel Counsellor and join some of the most ambitious and successful Travel Counsellors of all time.
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