With 19 years’ trading under its belt, Not Just Travel has now recruited more than 700 home-based franchisees, who are overseen by 47 members of staff in its Bournemouth head office. The agency’s recruitment programme favours people with entrepreneurial flair over previous experience in the travel industry, but two days of initial training followed by six weeks of hand-holding means new recruits quickly acquire the necessary skills. Further weekly training, covering everything from attracting new customers to supplier products, ensures more career development and has helped consultants drive an average repeat booking rate of more than 50%.
Customer marketing has also grown in the past year with a new consumer magazine, The Travel Guide, launched with 50,000 copies in time for the 2020 peaks period. This, plus a supplier expo in November attended by more than 60 operators and about 350 consultants, have led to a strong financial performance, with sales up 43% in January 2020. Homeworkers have further benefited from an autumn overhaul of the company’s data system, which has led to new information being available, from the most popular destinations to average customer spends.
Agents are also able to access an entire support network at head office. A dedicated booking team checks every booking made to ensure every detail is in order, while a marketing team has been helping homeworkers to get the best out of social media, which is a strong focus for the firm. Meanwhile, templates for welcome home messages and birthday cards help agents keep in regular touch with their clients. And the focus on service has paid off: one homeworker who organised a £150,000 group booking for the Rugby World Cup last year impressed the customer so much, he was invited to join them for free to ensure the trip went as smoothly as the booking process.
Responsible travel has become a significant focus at head office, with two new members of staff added to the digital team to drive awareness among consultants and their clients. And Not Just Travel remains committed to helping charities too, having raised about £69,000 last year for its chosen charity while also supporting franchisees in raising money for their own causes.