Becky worked in PR for 16 years but after the pandemic she decided she wanted to create a different life: to spend more time with her two children and to own a business of her own.
“I’ve worked for agencies and big brands like Body Shop, Avon, and Microsoft, but I came to a point in my career that to go to the next step would involve a lot of time away from my family. It’s always been a dream of mine to have my own business but, as I didn’t want to start from scratch, I started looking at franchise options.”
Becky came across The Travel Franchise and signed up within three weeks.
Like 98 per cent of our franchisees, Becky had never worked in the industry before, but she recognised that she had crossover skills and resources.
“I love planning and going on holiday and I realised that the things that I love about my old job are really transferable: I enjoy problem solving, meeting new people, networking and socialising. Plus I knew I had a good number of contacts so I could see how I could make business work.”
“Training was amazing. My notebook was filled with tips and advice and I still refer back to it.”
But Becky says that it was our ongoing support from our experienced Business Development Managers (BDMs), operations team and co-founders that was integral to her success.
“Your Business Development Manager holds your hand through the first few bookings checking you know how to load bookings, take payments and read terms and conditions correctly.”
Like many of our consultants, Becky took her first booking just days after training and within a month she’d arranged five or six holidays.
The result was many new clients, several £20-£30k bookings and one that was over £80k!
“It was a big family booking to Mauritius and it came via my gym. As I couldn’t get all the decision makers together I created a video presentation showing them a variety of options with all the pros and cons of different resorts so they could watch it in their own time.”
Now Becky is using our support network to determine what’s next for her business. She recently sat down with our co-founder Steve Witt who helped her build her business plan and set goals, for example, the income she’d like to achieve over the next two to five years.
“The support isn’t just, here’s how you book holidays and find customers, it’s about having help building your business at different stages.”
Now that Becky’s aiming at reaching a million pounds in bookings by December 2023, she’s developing different ways to scale up her business.
She’s opening a travel clinic in her local hair salon once a week and she’s also hoping to sign up a number of Partners in Travel (PITs), a scheme where we give consultants the option to work with a company or charity. In return for the organisation promoting the consultant, the consultant donates a percentage of the profit on every referred booking.
But it’s not all about money.
“I’ve just signed an official partnership with Motor Neurone Disease Association because it’s a cause that is really close to my heart. My daughter’s friend has a mother that suffers from the devastating disease. There’s no cure for it and the charity is massively underfunded. We will donate up to 20 per cent of the profit from every booking that comes through the charity – I’m excited to see how much money we can raise for them and give something back from the business.”
Becky admits she also loves the feel-good vibe when she books someone a holiday that they really love.
“I enjoy that moment when you’ve sent someone on holiday and they send you a photo and say they’ve had the most incredible time and you know you’ve made that happen.”
She particularly loves creating multi-centre itineraries to exciting or offbeat destinations and is currently researching trips on the Orient Express and one to Base Camp Everest,
“As a travel agent I love creating something special that would be really hard for them to pick off the shelf. It’s an opportunity to show off your skills. A recent favourite was for a customer who wanted to tour Sri Lanka. I created a tour that included visiting tea plantations, temples, local festivals, a three-day safari and then a week on the beach.”
Becky also admits that becoming a travel consultant has given her the opportunity to experience some incredible trips herself.
“In my 20s and 30s not only was I becoming a mum but I was so career focussed that I didn’t have a chance to travel and see the world.”
Becky took her husband and kids to Thailand nine months after she joined and went on our company cruise onboard one of the first sailings of NCL’s Norwegian Prima.
“I’d never been on a cruise before. I thought it would be my idea of hell, and I had no idea how to sell it, but after plenty of coaching and free time to experience the ship, I came away and I thought: I get it!”
Becky also joined us on our four-day International Mastery retreat in Paphos, Cyprus, where we hosted around 70 agents for free in order to help them see a popular destination and spend time learning business skills in a classroom-style setting.
“I’d never visited Cyprus before so it was a great opportunity to get to know Paphos and its hotels. It’s much easier to sell the destination to customers now. I also learned many interesting skills during the workshops: how to read people, how to understand their emotions and what’s important to them, plus how to run a business, too.”
Becky also enjoyed socialising with other agents…
“There is no competitiveness. Everyone wants to help you succeed and are open, honest, and happy to share tips with you. I have WhatsApp chat groups with people I’ve trained with, from conferences from different trips I’ve been on. Everyone is so positive.”
So is Becky glad she made the move from PR to travel consultant?
“It’s definitely changed my life for the better. Everyone tells me I look great, smile more and have less grey circles under my eyes. I’m happier.”
Becky particularly loves the flexibility of being able to choose her own hours and be her own boss.
“I can watch my son on the sidelines of a game and then run to the car to take a booking on my laptop and then run back to watch the rest of the match. I always have my laptop with me!“Sometimes my kids get frustrated with me when I’m on the phone and they miss me when I go abroad on a trip but they are glad I am there to help do their homework and watch sports matches.”
So does she work harder than when she was in PR and is she glad she switched careers?
“I really love what I do so even if I put in long hours I don’t feel like it’s hard work. It’s rewarding because I’m developing a business for myself. I had a real pinch me moment in Cyprus… I can’t believe this is my life and this is what I get to do for a living!”“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made – there is no ceiling to my ambition. It’s a powerful feeling that I’ve not had before and that’s really exciting.”
And would she recommend the franchise to others?
“If you have the motivation, you love to travel and you love people and networking, it’s a great opportunity.”