Franchisee Louise shares how she decided to start her business with husband Lee at a most unusual time.
After getting married, the new couple were loving their time on honeymoon in Jamaica. But they couldn’t escape the fact that they were both fed up with their working lives in HR and IT. Then a chance encounter with our franchisee David Walker changed their lives.
Watch the video below to learn more about Louise’s journey from HR to successful travel consultant.
Louise knew an HR career wasn’t her future.
In 2017 Louise was looking for a way to leave her HR career behind and become self-employed. She explains that she’d become disillusioned with the path ahead of her – as had husband Lee.
Having met David on the beach in Jamaica and learned about his franchise, she immediately watched our video tour to learn more.
Just 6 weeks later she was taking part in her induction training – and has never looked back.
“Both of us were fed up with the corporate life and the nine to five. I was making people redundant and holding disciplinaries.
Maybe I didn’t realise it at the time, but I had all these little things from my background that were pushing me towards a career in travel.
But it wasn’t till I met David that I actually could see what that could look like.
And now I get to talk about holidays and look at hotels all day, it’s a totally different scenario!”
Initially Louise grew her business part-time. Then, in 2018 she went full-time, with Lee also joining the business.
Her first bookings came from following our customer-finding-blueprint
When you join, we’ll show you how to make bookings and provide everything you need.
We’ll also show you a proven method for finding customers and growing your business. And we’ll give you ongoing training, mentorship and support from your very own Business Development Manager.
Louise told us how she got started by following the training.
“In the early days it tends to be people that you already know. We’ve both booked for a lot of ex work colleagues – and it was family and friends in the beginning.”
And friends are still booking 5 years later, with one recently booking an £18,000 multi-centre family trip to Japan for next year.
Louise explains how she’s grown her business through referrals and recommendations:
“Now we get a lot of referrals, which is amazing. I think it’s the highest compliment that the customer can pay you. That they’re happy to put their name to your service when they recommend you to their friends and family.”
She’s made huge bookings from complete strangers
Louise has made an individual booking worth around £85,000 for someone who found her through a Facebook group.
“That was fun to put together, because I basically had free reign to pick the best room in whatever hotel we were looking at. They’re going to a few places in Thailand and then the Maldives and Singapore.
Literally everywhere they’re staying, the only question the customer would ask me was… “Is there a better room than the one you are showing us?” And, if the answer was yes, then he only wanted to see that room. They have the most amazing water bungalow you’ve ever seen!”
The vast majority of our franchisees do this from home. But, once the business was established, Louise and Lee also decided to take office space with lots of passing footfall. It’s something their customer base appreciates.
“The village that we’re in, there are a lot of families. But there’s also a big retirement community. And I think that demographic appreciates face to face contact.
We have customers that will come in to pay their balance because they would rather do it here than do it over the phone.
I think we’ve been able to tap into a market at a time when people probably feel less sure about using the internet to book their own holiday.”
Once of the best parts of the business is the daily job satisfaction
Far from being fed up with careers that weren’t going to be long-term, Louise and Lee now get immense satisfaction from helping people make great memories.
There are people who simply need help from a professional, Louise says:
“There were lots of people that didn’t travel and now they are travelling again. They haven’t been away for two or three years and they’re really nervous about it. They really appreciate the support. You feel like you’ve helped someone to get away and have a good time.”
Helping people with tailor made itineraries, where they don’t quite know what they want is also hugely enjoyable.
“I feel like that’s where we get to add the most value. If you get to know the customer and actually understand what they’re looking for, you get to bring that to life for them.
Equally it might be that you listen to what they’re asking for, and you tell them that it’s not actually what they want.
It sounds so cheesy, but to go on that journey with them, people are so grateful when they’ve had a lovely holiday. That’s a lovely feeling.”
Louise has great advice if you’re about to take the leap and start your own travel business
She explains that you’ve really just got to get out there and start sharing your new business with people.
“Talking from our own experience, we spent the first year of our business “poking it with a stick”. We thought we were taking it seriously, but we weren’t doing what we really needed to do. You do need to talk to people and just get the message out there that you have a new business venture.”
She explains that they started talking to people about holidays in general as a way to get things moving.
“We asked people we knew if we could give them a call and do a survey. I would ask them five questions about their last holiday. It gave me an opportunity to talk to them about the fact that I had a travel business and they didn’t feel like I was trying to sell to them.
I would say at the end, if there’s anyone you know that you think would benefit from having some help with their holidays, then I’d love it if you could pass on my details.”
With 5 years under her belt and a thriving travel business, that’s sound advice from someone who’s been there and done it.