Meet Gaynor, a mum who bought a franchise when she got tired of commuting and spending around 24 hours on the M6 every week.
A self-proclaimed cruise addict with over 56 cruises under her belt, it’s no surprise that a travel franchise was at the top of her list when she was offered voluntary redundancy while working for an FMCG company.
After joining as an Elite, she launched her Not Just Travel agency and it didn’t take long for her business to pick up, despite having no former experience in the travel industry.
“Don’t be afraid if you’ve never sold travel before because you have whole network of suppliers and the support of NJT,” says Gaynor.
“I have been on a lot of cruises but I don’t know everything about every destination.
“Having access to NJT’s key trade partners and 450-plus suppliers means you can tap into and use their knowledge and that is really important.”
This proved essential when a client referral led to an inquiry from a ski club.
Suddenly Gaynor had to arrange three different trips for around 80 people.
However, Gaynor says that NJT’s ski partners, however, were a font of knowledge.
It wasn’t long before she arranged three incredible Austrian ski itineraries – bookings which amounted to just under £95,000 in total.
January 2023 proved one of her best ever with Gaynor booking over £150k in just two weeks! During 2023 she sold £1.7 million-worth of holidays, but she isn’t the sort to brag about bookings.
And it’s the care and thoughtful little touches that go into every holiday booking that makes clients come back again and again and again.
While she’s been known to send guide books and framed itineraries as gifts, she’s also gone the extra mile meeting some customers in person.
In 2022, one client asked if she’d help book a cruise for her and her daughter who struggled going abroad due to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Gaynor wanted to set their minds at ease and arranged to spend an entire morning with them.
“I had a Celebrity Cruise suitcase and filled it up with lots of arts and crafts, diaries, paper, crayons and an NJT t-shirt,” says Gaynor.
“I took it with the whole itinerary – deck pictures, ship pictures etc – and met the 9-year-old with her mum to go through the entire journey from the airplane seats, to the ship (right down to the actual cabin number), and the places they would be stopping at.”
Not only did her clients love the cruise but they booked another holiday – New York – on their return.
They’ve now booked another Greek cruise departing May 2023 on Royal Caribbean and are planning another shortly after Christmas.
Earlier this year Gaynor also arranged for another client with a brain haemorrhage to take their assistance dog on a cruise. A vital member of the family, Betsy the cockapoo reminds her owner of when to take his tablets and ensures he walks safely.
Gaynor acted as the liaison between Princess Cruises and her client so they could enjoy a Sky Princess mini cruise to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. Gaynor dealt with the booking procedure, and ensured the client had completed the right dog health checks and certification to travel.
To ensure everything went smoothly for her client, Gaynor and Martin, her husband and business partner, booked themselves on the same cruise.
When Gaynor isn’t booking holidays she often attends craft fairs or spends time posting on social media.
But she takes care to keep a healthy work/life balance, spending time with her family and travelling abroad.
“As it’s flexible working, it never stops me going on holiday,” she says.
“I was flying to New York once and booked a client’s holiday on the plane!”
This year for her personal holidays, Gaynor has been on an NCL cruise to Alaska and a transatlantic cruise on P&O’s new ship Arvia – which will bring her cruise tally sheet to over 56.
And she’s also won a few trips by attending travel webinars and supplier draws and quizzes.
“In June I enjoyed five nights in Madeira courtesy of the Madeira Tourism Board, and I also won four nights on Cunard sailing to Hamburg through a CLIA Facebook competition.”
Gaynor loves researching destinations, crafting incredible trips and digging around for great offers. Some are so good she can’t resist booking them for herself…
“I recently booked one client on an amazing holiday going to South Africa travelling on Rovos Rail. It looked so good I’ve just asked Hays to quote the exact same holiday for me next year!”