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I looked after a customers dog for a week because the kennel's let them down - I dont even like dogs.
I always email the hotels for the clients and request room upgrades. I try and make every single trip, no matter what people have spent, totally perfect.
I once had clients in New York who couldn't get home in the snow - I managed to get them home for Christmas
During the Iceland volcano, I had a family of 14 stuck in Miami. It meant working throughout the night but I managed to arrange for a private jet to fly them home!
The turning point
I'd been with the police for 30 years before taking early retirement and joining Travel Counsellors. Although that may seem like quite a radical career change, I'd always had a real love for travel. Whilst in the police I'd had property in Florida, plus I was heavily involved in the GB water polo team and helped with sorting out most of their travel. I always got a real buzz from helping people plan their trips and I loved using my knowledge to make recommendations to friends and family. That was when I got my'light bulb' moment and decided to get into the travel industry and turn my passion into more than just a ...
The sky is quite literall...
It will change your life
I found my courage and no...
It makes me feel invincib...
Like a million light bulb...
I'd fallen out of love wi...
We really care about the customer and being professional. Being genuinely customer-focused was hugely important to me.
I used to have absolutely no control over how I managed my own staff as senior management always wanted it their way
I love a challenge - thats really what I love about the job secretly!
Imagine a world where you can set your own terms and be your own boss - that's Travel Counsellors...
With Travel Counsellors, i'm free to look after my customers on a personal level
Travel Counsellors is not just a travel agency; it's an inspirational organisation!
I longed for the opportunity to be my own boss and do things my way so Travel Counsellors seemed perfect.
Claire Bottone's Story
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!
Claire Summers's Story
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 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 at home... literally! I love what I do.
Donna Waddington's Story
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I was a senior manager for a small travel agency. 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. 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. 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.
Guy Johnson's Story
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor I was a retail travel agent but I really wanted to be my own boss. I met someone on an educational tyip who suggested working from home for Travel Counsellors and the tipping point to joining was when I went to Bolton and saw the set up.
Travel Counsellors is different because of the attention to details and the desire to help the Travel Counsellors as people, rather than taking a commission slice and giving nothig back. It's really refreshing.
Our technology is groundbreaking and always evolving and having such fantastic business development support is comforting. They can always be relied upon. Imagine a world where you can set your own terms and be your own boss with an amazing stucture support behind you - that's Travel Counsellors.
I have the flexibility to work when I want and to devote as much time as I want to each customer. The ability to be there for my customers when they need me and being able to arrange the perfect trip for them is fantastic.
Helen Birtwistle's Story
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I was a branch manager of a travel agency in Burnley. I felt completely pressured. I wanted to get my life back and have time for myself and my husband instead of being constantly stressed and anxious about work. When I joined Travel Counsellors, this all changed. I felt valued and welcomed with no-one on my back. My business development person is supportive, energetic and positive and gives me lots of imaginative ideas. The freedom to work when you want to work and take time out when it's needed is amazing and there's no pressure over targets and paperwork. With Travel Counsellors, i'm free to look after my customers on a personal level. I think new Travel Counsellors will be amazed how much those customers come to love and rely on you. In terms of your own development - there's always an opportunity to make new friends and take part. You're never alone. There's no secret ingredient to becoming a Travel Counsellor but you need to want to deliver great customer service; thats what its all about.
Katy Phillips's Story
I used to work for an independent business travel agency but I felt totally frustrated as I had little say in which suppliers I could use. I was nervous about the move but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I love being my own boss and really enjoy having so many like minded friends and colleagues to share experiences with. I never realised how important it would be. What makes Travel Counsellors different is the level of support from both head office and colleagues. Its not about sales but service and that is such an important and fundamental thing that a lot of travel agents do not take on board. Travel Counsellors is not just a travel agency; it's an inspirational organisation! Taking the leap from a salary to commission is huge but with Travel Counsellors behind you, many of your concerns will be ironed out before you even start. I've never looked back
Mark Hallam's Story
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.