Meet Gopal. Aged 38, he lives in Birmingham. His passions outside of travel are cars and planes. With 35 hours of flying lessons under his belt, he is happiest when soaring through the sky.
Leaving his role with a high salary as European Procurement Director for a Global Vehicle Leasing Company, he just completed his online training to become a Personal Travel Consultant from home with the Elite Franchise Package.
Saying goodbye to a high-end salary is a bold move, particularly at this time.
It’s not just the immediate financial reward that matters. I’m in this for the long-haul.
Job satisfaction and a real purpose mean as much to me.
Where and when did your love of travel start?
I’ve always had a travel bug even from a very young age.
For our summer break, once a year, we would go back to see my family. Half my family is from East Africa and the other India.
It was only when finishing college and before starting university, I decided to go travelling with 3 friends. We visited places like Hong Kong and it was life-changing.
Before everything changed, I would take at least 3 long-haul holidays every year. I’ve been around the world and back again many times.
I’m so passionate about helping people to fulfill their dreams, to tick off their bucket list, to experience what I’ve been lucky enough to.
I’d like to become known as the travel guru who busts myths. For example, one I am currently focused on is when people say, ‘I can never afford a trip to Japan’ it’s too expensive.’ I show them that it doesn’t have to be.
What was your first-ever holiday booking for and how did it feel?
Excited was at the heart of how I felt.
I’ve only been out of the online training for a couple of weeks, and I already have 5 great bookings confirmed, I feel very positive.
My first holiday booking was confirmed 36 hours (to the minute!) following the initial live training.
It was a booking which came through from my father’s friend. I booked them a 2-night stay, for a family of 4 in a beautiful hotel in London. It was for a very special birthday.
They chose to book with me as opposed to booking directly online as I positioned myself as an expert. I’m very familiar with London, which restaurants to go to, which tube lines to use to get to where they need to go.
This personal concierge service at no extra cost was what the customer valued most.
Read 12 reasons why people use travel consultants here.
I’ve also seen a big booking come through this weekend.
The enquiry came through at 11.30 pm. It was for a family of 4, travelling to New York and Cancun.
It came about following a WhatsApp message I sent to a group of close contacts about an offer that a supplier was doing at the time, someone in that group referred me to this family.
The family wanted to make the booking that very evening. I ended up being on a call until 1.30 am to make it happen!
They knew it was subject to availability, so this created a sense of urgency. Turning 40 in 2021, this was a must to get in their diary.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I stumbled across the Travel Franchise a few years ago whilst browsing online. A lady I used to work with was a franchisee, so I reached out to her to get some inside information.
I was in a senior role at the time and I was happy where I was. Over time the satisfaction of the job started to fall away.
After being furloughed earlier this year it was the first time in my whole life that I was at home with nothing to do. This was a pivotal point.
I had to focus on me, ask some challenging questions, and have moments of deep reflection.
After watching the video tour and then speaking to Paul I knew this was going to be my only real opportunity to make a complete U-turn.
To change the course of my direction.
So, I grabbed the opportunity and had faith that it was the right thing to pursue my passion in life.