When Chris’s wife, Jo, tragically died of cancer in 2016 aged just 38, his life changed irrevocably. Suddenly he was a single father to Alfie, their three-year-old son.
Supporting Alfie, emotionally and financially, became his first priority.
Continuing to work in central London, commuting from his hometown of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, was no longer feasible.
After 35 years working as an insurance broker, he needed an alternative career. Something that gave him the freedom to do the school runs, attend Alfie’s sports days, provide a good income and preferably something that was fun and fulfilling.
The answer? Sign up to become a travel consultant with The Travel Franchise, a company that has a reputation for training and supporting people new to travel.
That’s exactly what Chris did in April 2017. He invested in our Elite Package, our most popular package
Chris paid off his franchise fee in a totally different – and rather bizarre – way.
Shortly after making the decision to join The Travel Franchise, Chris’s mother sadly passed away in March 2017. But “from the grave” came the most amazing surprise – she’d won the lottery just before she died but hadn’t been given the good news! With Chris as executor it took some working out where on earth the money had come from.
“Initially the bank suggested to me it was a life insurance payment,” explained Chris. “But the name under the payment said ‘Congratulations’ and I’m not sure you congratulate someone on their mum dying. We then got to the bottom of it and it turned out she’d won £25,000 and I used some of it to pay off the franchise fee.”
Today “Congratulations” is certainly in order. Chris now has a small travel shop a short walk from his house called Go Scoble and has built a strong, loyal customer base in his local community. And in March 2022, he employed someone – a mum called Emma – to help him in the shop. And she’s already proving a huge benefit to the business.
Most importantly, Chris is always there for Alfie – who is now starting out in secondary school.
But, Chris admits it’s taken hard work and perseverance.
“While I love the flexibility the job gives me, I always try to make myself available – there are no set hours. If I nip out of the shop, then I leave my number on the door so people can contact me.”
Chris has a goal of £1 million in annual holiday sales this year, increasing that figure to £1.5 million pounds in 2024.
And he’s certainly on target with a recent £53k single holiday booking to Beachcomber in Mauritius – the second £50k-plus sale in six months.
Average booking values are also on the rise with £10k bookings becoming a more regular occurrence for ‘Go Scoble’.
While initially Chris turned to his contacts in the City to garner business, after six years he’s now fairly well known in the local area.
“Building relationships takes time, but it’s paying off. I always wear my branded T-shirt around town and people recognize the name – even if they don’t know me. So lots of people who I’ve never met before say ‘hello’.”
And, he’s now a bit of a star on the local radio as the ‘go-to’ travel expert.
“I’m on the list of about three radio stations and presenters call me to comment on various travel issues. So that’s worked really well to spread awareness.”
And today, if you Google ‘travel company in Tunbridge Wells’, Go Scoble Travel will be in the top four choices, with straight five-star reviews.
And Alfie: does he approve? “Alfie is known at school as Alfie Go Scoble! Not Alfie Scoble. So I’ve ruined his life!”
But of course, Alfie benefits too.
“Last year I took him to Thailand. But this year we’re doing something different. We’re flying into Madrid, doing the Real Madrid Stadium tour, then catching the train to Barcelona to tour the Barcelona stadium before hitting the beach. It’ll be just me and him. The best holidays are when it’s just the two of us on our own.”
Indeed, stepping on board with The Travel Franchise was the saving grace for Chris, allowing him to take control of his life when it took such a tragic turn.
Today he’s got a loyal following who are all shouting: “Go Scoble”!
But should you do it too? Chris has some sound words of advice why he thinks travel consultants will always be in demand.
“If you are personable, trustworthy and honest, people will buy from you. We can compare the market situation, we’re experts and will make sure you have a great holiday. Why would you spend £5,000 on someone you’ve never even spoke to? People really want to talk to someone and to know that there’s someone there if they can, that you can ring if something goes wrong and I can honestly say I am. I always say look, this is my mobile number, I literally am available any other time apart from when I’m sleeping.”