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How a few too many drinks at New Year led to Stan’s great idea… and a booking for over 50 people on a cruise

Stan has always had a passion for travel and worked overseas for Thomas Cook for many years as a rep and then other roles.

After returning to the UK and running a variety of other businesses he decided that he would like to launch his own home-based travel agency and so he invested in a franchise with us in 2021.

“I enjoy the flexibility and the challenge of running my own business plus it’s very rewarding when you succeed as you are building something for yourself.”

Stan runs the consultancy with his business partner Luke, who has a full-time job but helps out in his spare time.

We find that many franchisees join with a family member or friend, sharing their time, different skills and contacts. 

Although Stan, like many new recruits, was a little uneasy about finding clients initially, he’s on course to book half a million in holiday sales in 2024 and looking forward to ‘peaks’ the January-March period when agents typically take four times as many bookings.

“In the six weeks following Boxing Day we took £113,000-worth of holiday bookings which surpassed expectations.”

“We live in a small village in Somerset and once word spread we gained excellent support from local people and really appreciate their business.”

So how did Stan market his personal consultancy locally? 

“It wasn’t a money making exercise (I think I was a bit tipsy) but on New Year’s Eve we were at a party in the village and I suggested that I organised a group cruise. I selected a short two-night MSC cruise to Guernsey, made a graphic on Canva and popped it on the local Facebook group. It created a bit of hype and two days later I released details. As we expected about 15 people to sign up I booked a minibus, but in the end I had to hire a 54 seater coach!”

While Stan was elated with the number of cruise bookings, what’s more impressive is that it generated around £70k in repeat business.

Stan also had luck arranging a £30k group booking to Japan for a karate event. Once again it was the repeat clients that proved most lucrative in the long term.

Many of our consultants say the first year that they start their business can be hard work but that subsequent years become easier with many achieving repeat business that’s over 70 per cent. Some become so busy after three years they choose to employ someone to help out.

Stan’s so busy he’s now hired a personal assistant to help with admin and his diary… He’s found that a growing number of local residents really enjoy meeting face-to-face to go through their holiday plans.

In order to boost cruise sales further, Stan joined our Cruise Mastery Programme, a 12-month course which includes access to our cruise business development managers, ship visits and webinars, plus a free one-week cruise with a Seminar at Sea (workshops on how to skyrocket sales).

“The biggest thing that increased our cruise sales was going on them! The company cruise onboard NCL’s new luxury Norwegian Prima ship was amazing. I’ve also toured a Virgin Voyages ship in Tilbury and a Fred Olsen ship in Portsmouth. It’s so much easier to sell and engage with seasoned cruise customers if you’ve experienced the ships first hand.”

Stan also joined a company retreat to Cyprus in March and he’s also been making the most of other travel agent perks including a discounted trip to Tunisia.

“I love my job. The majority of time you are doing something that makes people happy, plus getting repeat customers and referrals is a buzz. The flexibility of the job is great but the downside is taking a break can be difficult but, once I reach a million in sales, I may get better at that!”

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