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Part-time duo from Doncaster race ahead with our Partners in Travel Scheme

It was in May 2019 that long-term work colleagues, Mike and Sean, partnered up and launched their travel venture.

Today (and we’re sure they won’t mind us saying) they are the Morecambe and Wise of travel in Yorkshire.

Tune into any of their monthly Facebook Live “shows” and if nothing else you’re sure to have a giggle watching the banter between these two friends talking all-things-travel.

In fact, they’re making such a name for themselves that they’ve recently been signed up as the official travel partner for Doncaster Racecourse, part of the Arena Racing Company.

As part of our pioneering Partner in Travel programme, any of our consultants can sign up with a business or sports club and give them a share of their commission for sending leads their way!

“We now get the opportunity to offer our services as personal travel consultants to all the staff and private members,” explains Mike. “If this goes well, then potentially we could see it roll out across all 16 of the company’s racecourses throughout the country. We’re very excited. We’ve had this idea for a while but have held back. But now we feel it’s the right time because we’re absolutely confident in our abilities. We’re also appointing our first member of staff to help us keep on top of the enquiries and bookings.”

In 2023 the duo turned over shy of £1 million worth of bookings. While that in itself is not unusual for a Not Just Travel consultant, what makes this more impressive is that both Mike and Sean work just part-time as travel consultants. What’s more, they’ve done absolutely no advertising or marketing.

Mike works primarily as a financial advisor, and for Sean this business is one of several ‘pies’ within his portfolio career. Yet, to use Mike’s words: “business is bonkers”.

“Our business has grown organically – all referrals – and it’s been hard to keep up with it, hence we’ve had to employ someone to help us. It’s literally grown via word of mouth, which is not surprising considering everyone loves chatting about travel. When you go to a party you don’t want to talk about mortgage rates, but you’re very happy to chat about holidays,” says Mike.

“Sean and I are not afraid to ask for the business. It’s all about building a rapport with the customer and not being scared to gently push them to close the deal. If they’re not prepared to book then what changes do they want us to make to the itinerary: do they want a different hotel, new flights, a change of dates? We work with them until they get exactly what they want.”

The duo has also embraced social media. Each month a couple of hundred people tune into their half-hour Facebook Live sessions. This is an opportunity to relay travel news and talk about some of the great deals on offer. It’s also a great way for customers to get to know them as people and personalities.

“This is a people game and building good relationships is key. It’s all about trust and communication. Our live sessions show us as real people rather than just text on a screen.”

Having said that, the Not Just Travel corporate marketing team provide the couple – as they do for all consultants – with a stream of daily Facebook posts and these are uploaded onto their page most days.

Mike and Sean are also keen to encourage all their followers and customers to download Not Just Travel’s WOW Travel deal app. This app notifies all their customers of amazing deals and ‘wow’ itineraries, encouraging and enticing clients to pick up the phone and contact either Sean or Mike.

“It’s just another avenue to find customers, so why wouldn’t we use it.”

Mike is so convinced of the business model that he recently referred a colleague, Ilona. Having watched our Discovery videos. Ilona was convinced too. Next month she’ll complete her five-day, live, online training next month and will be up and running immediately afterwards, able to make holiday bookings.

Just like Mike and Sean (and 98 per cent of our franchisees), Ilona does not come from a travel background. However, Mike has no doubt she will be able to get to grips with the booking technology and with the suppliers in no time.

“I’m not overly tech savvy, but I’ve found it really easy to learn,” he says.

Of course, every consultant has help along the way in the form of a Business Development Manager, on hand to answer all your questions and help you grow your business.

“Our BDM is Natalie and she’s brilliant. She’ll be with us at Doncaster Races when we officially launch our Partner in Travel programme. To be honest, we’ve been fairly self sufficient, but whenever we’ve reached out to Natalie for help, she’s been there like a shot.”

Consultants can also turn to suppliers for help too. They have access to over 450 suppliers and 45 key trade partners, giving them the ability to book thousands of different holidays – many not found on the internet.

“I’ve built up great relationships with a core number of suppliers who I tend to use the most and I trust.”

As a consequence, Mike is often invited to join his favourite suppliers on what in the trade are called ‘fam’ trips – trips organised by tour operators, tourist boards or hoteliers to familiarise consultants about their product.

As such, Mike is looking forward to joining tour operator Simply Cuba on a fam trip to the Caribbean island later in the year.

“Getting to travel is just one of the many perks of the job,” he says. “It’s a fun industry – it beats the financial sector that’s for sure.”

If you want to follow in Mike and Sean’s direction, then the first step you need to take is to watch the Discovery videos where you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the business.

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