If you’ve never worked in travel and are wondering if you can plan and book travel in your spare time, take a few minutes to read about Paul and Tracy.
Full-time police officers, this husband and wife team have three children, two dogs and they care for Tracy’s elderly mum who lives with them.
Yet this dynamic duo are travel consultants – and, it has to be said, they’re pretty good at it.
Just eight months in, bookings are strong and it’s looking as if their franchise could provide much more. But for now it’s a fun sideline – a far cry from their day-to-day job ‘down at the nick’.
“We’re both police officers – and we say that very proudly – but it’s a difficult place to be at the moment. It’s a tough gig,” says Paul.
Having been in the Force for over 15 years, and in Tracy’s case 20 years, the couple were looking for “something different” when they signed up with us in April 2023 and they haven’t been disappointed.
“As part of our daily job, we deal with members of society who [on the whole] are either really vulnerable or in some cases rather challenging, sometimes both, and either way, often don’t really want to engage with us,” says Tracy.
Working in travel is at the completely opposite end of the spectrum, according to Paul.
“The travel industry is full of people who are very, very happy all of the time. And the enthusiasm that they show for their subject area is unbelievable. It’s actually quite infectious!”
The couple have been blown away by the support and sense of community.
“The support we’ve been given has been excellent, always cheerful and positive, and that’s not just from our business development manager (BDM) and the team at head office, but also from among our peer group. We’ve made some really nice friendships, from among the other consultants.”
And Paul says there’s no rivalry in sight.
“Coming from public sector backgrounds we thought it would be quite competitive internally, but we haven’t experienced anything like that. On the contrary, everyone just seems to want everyone else to do really well.”
And of course who doesn’t want to talk about travel?
When coming home from a shift, the prospect of researching and booking holidays is one that the pair look forward to.
“We genuinely love it. And even more so when we get great feedback from our clients. They tell us that they were caught in a spiral of ‘doom scrolling’ and just didn’t know where to go and then we book them their perfect holiday. It gives you a great sense of satisfaction – and getting paid to do it makes it even better.”
While some of our consultants work alone, others team up with friends or family like Paul and Tracy, spreading the load and sharing tasks.
While the couple have never worked together before, they have discovered that they make great business partners.
Paul has mastered sifting through the competition online to find the best deals for customers who want straightforward package holidays, whereas Tracy loves researching destinations she’s never been to and crafting tailor made, bespoke itineraries.
As we have over 450 travel suppliers and 46 key trade partners, our consultants can book thousands of holidays and Paul and Tracy are certainly making the most of the huge variety we offer.
Their bookings range from car hire right up to a 19-day trip to Canada in search of polar bears. Tracy recently organised a trek in Nepal and a trip taking in all the best bits in Vietnam.
Many new consultants worry that they don’t know every destination and feel like imposters but Tracy knows she can still add value to customers even if she’s booking a holiday to a destination she hasn’t visited.
“Just because we’ve taken out a travel franchise, some people assume we’ve been everywhere and know the ins and outs of every single country that exists – which of course we don’t. But I love learning. I’m a geek. If it’s a request for somewhere I don’t know, I get my teeth into it.”
Tracy and Paul like all consultants can ring one of our specialist suppliers for assistance and advice, or their Business Development Manager, a mentor which we provide to every single franchisee.
And of course researching new destinations has ignited their love of travel even more.
“That’s the beauty of this job – we can do it from anywhere. Last year we were on the phone to customers while we were around the pool in Turkey. Plus, it allows us to experience places we may not have thought about going before, because we can use our trade partners to help us get good deals.”
And it looks like the whole family has caught the travel bug – with even their daughter picking up the Atlas and gemming up on her geography.
“Our 16-year-old daughter is desperate to go to as many countries as she can. She gets annoyed if we tell her we might be going somewhere she’s already been. And then if we tell her we’re going without her, she tries every angle to be able to actually come on the trip.”
While most consultants gradually build their knowledge of popular destinations over time and via our optional weekly webinars, one of the most important aspects of being a consultant is interviewing customers to find out what they want from their holiday.
And who better to quiz a customer than a police officer!
“It’s important to learn what your customer wants – that’s how you transfer an inquiry into a booking by delivering on that.”.
Enthusiasm, good communication skills and a passion for travel are the key skills to succeed they say and the couple certainly have that!
So much so that they are steadily working their way up our corporate career pathway.
‘Pins’ are awarded to any consultant who achieves key milestones and with Bronze, Silver and Gold Pins already under their belt they recently secured their Platinum.
And as they move into their second year, their business is evolving.
“Now we’ve got the foundations in place, it’s about having a strategy to continue that growth. I’m getting great satisfaction from the fact that I feel like I’m becoming more competent and more efficient at what we’re doing.
“Recently, rather than sending several options over to a client, we simply sent them one. They came straight back to say they loved it and ‘let’s get it booked’. It shows we’re becoming more efficient, which ultimately means we can process more customers and the greater the business will grow.”
Justifiably, this disciplined couple are proud of their achievements. They’re a law unto themselves and are clearly on a mission – and they’re proving it’s NOT a mission impossible even without any former experience in travel and with full-time jobs!