Meet Manchester-based personal travel consultant Lee.
With over 15 years’ experience working for big travel companies including Tui and Destinology, he’s sold all sorts of holidays from bucket-and-spade packages to upmarket vacations at luxury resorts.
So what made him join The Travel Franchise, an award-winning franchise with a reputation for training people new to travel?
“There were other similar companies but The Travel Franchise and its customer-facing-brand Not Just Travel pulled me in due to the high level of support,” says Lee who was keen to be his own boss and build his own agency.
“I had experience in travel but none on the business side.”
Lee bought a travel franchise so that he had flexible hours to look after his five-year old son.
“That work/life balance is the biggest plus point,” says Lee.
“There is far more flexibility when you are your own boss… with no pressure to work set hours.
“If I don’t want to work in the morning I can work in the evening,” adds Lee who can also work from his mum’s home in Tenerife if he chooses.
Lee admits he doesn’t work a 40-hour week and could easily increase his income if he didn’t ‘take his foot off the pedal’ to spend time with his son.
He prefers to work with a small number of select clients so that he can manage and look after them thoroughly and this tends to be high end inquiries.
“With this, you tend to find that clients are more interested in the knowledge you have and the service that you can provide.. the personal touch, rather than about a final price.”
So did Lee find his high-spending customers?
“The big ones have either been repeat clients through Linkedin or referrals,” he says.
Lee says it’s all about adding value where you can.
“This can be via complimentary room upgrades or meal upgrades, or it can be advice such as where the client can get extra value,” says Lee who recently managed to get a client premium economy flights for just a fraction more than the cost of economy tickets.
His “attention to detail” and “available by text” while the client is abroad also attracts repeat business.
One of his customers recently returned from Dubai and immediately booked his family, and another family, on a two-centre trip to Florida and Bahamas worth £105k.
The booking split when one family had to change their date of departure to August, but the other has already returned and is already planning another holiday through Lee.
“There was an issue with transfers and restaurant reservations when the client was abroad, but I was on hand to help,” says Lee, pointing out that as he has visited Florida, he could advise his client how to get the most out of every single theme park.
“Sometimes you do need to add value but if you go the extra mile with people you don’t need to be giving stuff away.”