Let me introduce myself. My name is Lorraine Rennison and I am a Travel Counsellor....cook.....cleaner...and mummy to not one, not two, but four beautiful daughters - Ruby aged 9, Ivy aged 5, Florence aged 2 and Mabel at just one year old.
I have two big loves in my life - my family and my job. I am not going to lie to you, it's crazy in my house some days, but it works! Why does it work? Because I work for the best people in the world....fact!
I decided to become a Travel Counsellor five years ago after the birth of my second daughter, Ivy. I previously worked for a high street chain and felt they did not value me as a person, and also did not give me the flexibility to work around a young family and look after my clients as my own. I wanted to work at hours that suited me, I wanted to be able to take my children to school in a morning and pick them up, go to assemblies, have a few hours off if it was a sunny day, have tea together each evening...and now I do just that.
My family has grown at the same speed as my business, but not once did I think I can't do this anymore, or how will I juggle this. I knew that with the support of my head office, business development team and my colleagues, I could as I have amazing people around me. I knew I could also work evenings when the children were in bed and weekends when my husband was around. I know this might not work for everyone but it works for us as a family.
My average day starts at 7am when I get up and have breakfast with the girls, during which there are usually a few tantrums, and then the military operation of getting four kids into a car (this should come with instructions!), then it's the school run and child-minders. From 9am onwards it's just me and my laptop, a cuppa and sometimes the odd biscuit or two! I have to be organised and prioritise my workload; I am a list person and the contacts I have built up in the industry get back to me quickly on the quotes I have. I basically cover everything from enquiries to reservations to checking clients in and hand delivering tickets. I have even been known to do this with a child in tow and do you know what, my clients love it!
I always tell them exactly what I can offer that sets me apart from other agents, and I also tell them I am a working mam of four. This means that sometimes I can't always take a call there and then but I will always get back to them at my earliest opportunity, and they know I will because consistency is the key to making it work for me. I have even recently had some of my corporate clients sending me pictures of their grandchildren proud as punch, because they can relate to me as a person and also someone who they can trust to be efficient.
My business has grown each year and my repeat custom is higher than ever. I love what I do and it shows. I run a tight ship, I often joke that I feel like Carole from the Brittas Empire (do you remember that?) with the baby in the top drawer in the office.
Just because you are a mam you should never have to sacrifice your passions and mine has always been travel. I provide my clients with the knowledge and advice they require, and I make suggestions based on 19 years experience. I always find them the best holiday for them because I take the time to get to know them and their individual needs. I am available at hours that suit them and I'm always only a phone call away, not to a call centre or queuing system, to me direct.
But I also make wicked cupcakes...