Travel Counsellors is the UK’s oldest and largest network of home-based travel agents, numbering 1,230 consultants in the UK and a further 600 worldwide, and is celebrating its 25th birthday this year.
That fact that 20 TCs have been with the company for more than 20 years points to this being a nurturing environment, and there is much talk about “the Travel Counsellors family”.
The majority of its franchisees are individual consultants working from home, but in recent years newer business models – including agents taking office space, or employing their own sales team – have emerged.
Business travel is also growing fast for Travel Counsellors, with corporate travel sales up 20% year-on-year. This sector will play its part in helping the company achieve its ambitious, but already on track, target of £1 billion in annual sales within the next few years.
From the company’s new offices in Manchester’s Trafford City, a head office team of almost 300 works tirelessly to offer TCs the very best in training, marketing services and pastoral support.
From the “Kickstarter” and “Accelerator” programmes to the “Going for Gold” initiative, there is an array of personal development opportunities for any TC keen to stretch themselves. Each TC is also assigned a business development consultant, who undergoes high-level business coach training with the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Market-leading technology has been key to Travel Counsellors’ success, with the emphasis on using technology to maximise “the personal touch”, and not replace it.
Recent developments enable TCs to send highly tailored marketing messages to their customer database, with one spa and wellness campaign sent to 27,000 carefully selected clients yielding 1,000 bookings.
And TCs can now send in short video clips taken on overseas trips to a professional in-house team, who turn them into a high-quality video to use online.
While Travel Counsellors prides itself on looking after its “family”, it also looks to give back to local communities, including raising a remarkable £100,000 for Reuben’s Retreat – a charity very close to its heart – last year. Consultants have also been undertaking training with The Travel Foundation in the past 12 months to learn about the part they and their customers can play in travelling more responsibly.