Fed up with commuting to work and not having enough time with your family?
Toni, a busy mum based in Wiltshire, used to dread Mondays, the start of the week when she would spend hours in her car driving across Bristol, Dorset and her home county working full-time as a contract manager.
But her life changed when she bumped into Sarah Watts, a Not Just Travel consultant, during a networking coffee morning.
“I went there in my capacity as a training provider, heard her talking about how she just started her business with Not Just Travel and I thought it sounded like something I really would love to do. Travelling is a high priority for me, so to become a travel agent really was a no-brainer.”
After being made redundant twice during the pandemic she decided she wanted to be her own boss, work flexible hours and build her own business. And despite researching other options she kept gravitating back to our customer-facing brand Not Just Travel.
“I don’t know what it was. The culture and the ethos of the company just really resonated with me. I decided I didn’t want to work for somebody else and then for it to come to nothing. I wanted to do something for myself. So that’s when I thought: ‘you’ve just got to do it, Tony, otherwise you’re never going to’. So I rang Paul.”
Toni discussed various franchise packages with Paul and joined The Travel Franchise as an Elite in June 2021. She now works part-time as a Not Just Travel consultant alongside another business that she runs from home.
“I sell boring things like utilities (gas and electric) on the side so it’s a kind of multi-level marketing thing. It fits in well because I talk to people about saving money on one thing and then say to them you can spend it on holidays instead.”
Toni says it wasn’t a particularly difficult transition, moving from a salaried 9-5 job to being self employed as a travel consultant.
“I work part-time basically around my son and it’s merged into my life quite nicely. I love it. It’s been really pivotal in changing the way that I live, and I will never go back to a nine-to-five job ever.”
“In my old corporate job, Monday morning was a bit dreaded and now it’s not like that. I have freedom in my calendar to basically do as little or as much as I want to, I spend my time helping people, and creating their memories, which I think is quite precious.”
“The five-days training is a hard slog but the content and the people that run it are brilliant. And the group of us that started on that day have all kept in touch and supported each other along the way. We still meet up and I went on a P&O ship visit of Arvia recently with one of the girls that I trained with.”
“Only 250 travel agents were invited onboard. Gary Barlow presented and we got to see the premier of the Take That musical, Greatest Days and got to have lunch and see a bit of the ship as well which was nice.”
She’s also joining us on our International Cruise Mastery week-long cruise in October on MSC Euribia with visits to Cannes, Corsica and Ibiza.
“I’m selling way more cruises than I’ve ever sold before. It’s been a really good introduction into cruise for me because I had no idea about cruising prior to joining the Cruise Mastery Programme. I really didn’t know enough to be a valuable asset to my customers in terms of being able to sell a cruise. But now it’s completely different.”
Toni enjoys attending our webinars and having access to our business development managers, experts with years of experience in the cruise and travel industry.
“There’s a spotlight on a different cruise brand each month and you get really entrenched in what they’re all about. You also get invited on many ship visits. Being able to see it and live it and breathe it has been quite transformational and having the expertise of the cruise business development managers (Duncan and Gemma) has certainly helped me know where to look for different types of cruises.”
Like most consultants, Toni can sell a variety of holidays from our 450+ travel suppliers but she particularly loves tailormaking complex mult-centre trips to destinations such as Japan where she used to live.
“I know quite a lot about the country and I love talking with clients in so much detail about a place that I love. It sounds a bit cheesy but I just enjoy being able to make people happy. Especially when you put together a bespoke package and you’ve really gone to town to make sure that they’ve got everything they need. It just makes it worth getting up in the mornings.”
While job satisfaction is important, earning money is essential and Toni says the business has grown incredibly since she started.
“In the last three months I’ve done more sales than I did all last year. I’m so happy with the way it’s going. It can only get better as I build my customer base. I’ve got a lot of repeat customers and I’ve got a lot of people that go on multiple holidays every year. To keep getting customers like that would be great because that means that, you know, I know them inside and out which means it’s easier to source and help them find the perfect trip.”
Toni has been using our marketing tool kit to help her gain new clients on social media. We also offer exclusive deals from our key trade partners.
“I’m a bit shy and scared of being on video but there were prompts and scripts that really helped me get to grips with recording my own videos. The videos then linked together with the offers which created the interest for the customers.”
So are there any downsides to being a travel consultant?
“What I’d like to achieve from going to work every day is to be able to afford to go on holiday and do new things and travel. Now that I’m looking at other people’s holidays every day I’m like, ooh, that sounds nice I want to go there. I have a bucket list as long as my arm and currently looking into a family trip to Costa Rica.”
So would she recommend the franchise to others?
“It’s definitely changed my life. It’s changed my son’s life. I’ve changed my husband’s life. We all have so much more freedom in our lives because of this business. I’ve got much more opportunity to do the mum stuff at home, but I also have my own identity in terms of my business.”