Travel Counsellors – The Future of Travel Agents: Working From Home!

Travel-Counsellors-Logo

Coincidentally I got into contact with Bianca Maoua of the Dutch Branch of Travel Counsellors. A thriving franchise that is branching out despite the travel agent walk or kick out all over the world.

It was a very nice first encounter and I do believe this is the future alternative for the High Street Travel Agent.

Off course I’m biased, because I’m so used to the home working travel agent already: In my former life I worked 24/7 and had to change travel itineraries the very last moment (usually between 10 PM and 2.30AM). We then used a lady whose name I’ve forgotten sadly, but who was located in LA and worked there from home and from an office and helped us with airline leg scheduling and Hotel reservations when all Travel Agents here in The Netherlands were closed. This was in the late 80ies and early 90ies, way before Internet, but she had acces to GDS and could work with it and, more importantly knew how to trick the system…the now not permitted reverse your leg trip and so. Later I used a guy wo could tweak the same GDS with … just an embryonal PC…

About Travel Counsellors

Founded : 1994 by Chairman David Speakman

200 staff are located at the company’s Headquarters in the UK headquarters in Bolton. 40 more in overseas offices.

Over 1,000 home based self employed agents, located throughout the UK along with Ireland, the Netherlands, the US, Germany, South Africa and Australia. Further overseas expansion is planned. 83% of the agents are women, 77% have children, 71% are aged between 31 and 50 with an average of 19 years experience. Before joining Travel Counsellors 60% were either managers, deputy mangers or owners of high street / retail travel agencies

The company’s turnover has increased from its 1993 level of £510,000 to £245m for the financial year ending October 31 2008.

What they sell:
Packages represent 20% of total sales, including traditional package holidays from the (UK) big four. Tailor made holidays are about two thirds (65%) of our business, booked either with specialist tour operators or dynamically packaged using our own award winning Phenix system. The remaining 15% consists of cruise and business travel bookings.

Impressive! Even if you are net savvy they can save you tremendous time! They claim their Phenix system makes them better informed than any customer shopping on the internet….

I do permit myself a comment: Their site needs loads of more content! Syndication perhaps?

And a question: Are there genuine travel agent review sites out there?

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6 Responses to Travel Counsellors – The Future of Travel Agents: Working From Home!

  1. I have never used them personally, but I wrote about an issue that one consumer had with them, and to be honest, they dealt with it professionally, and resolved the issue.

    I am not sure that they are the future of travel agents, many people still prefer the face to face contact.

  2. In the Internet era Skype maybe?

  3. I wouldn’t like people to see me on Skype cam, yikes.

    Consumers will always prefer to book in different ways. Some will do it online, some person to person and some using at home travel agents.

    It is what you feel comfortable with.

    Time plays a part a lot of the time in how we book a holiday.

  4. As you know I don’t Skype. But my eee has skype, so I will soon start Skyping:-)

    You know there is a famous ad from a Dutch telecom provider where a daughter is Skyping with her mother and her friend comes out the shower and comments: “Hey that’s a nice screensaver of your mum. Is it new? The daughter says “Er this is not a screensaver, I’m talking to mum” and meanwhile you see mum look away :-)

    Here it is on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFm1mg7oQws

  5. Hi Guido,

    About your question, are you talking about travel agents that post reviews on a site or are you talking about a site where consumers can review travel agents?

    I have to say Travel Counsellors is very impressive in terms of growth and also of their growing number of members. This definitely helps people who want to manage the time when they can work instead of being in a job from 9 to 5. It is also helpful for those people who can and want to work from home.

    Guillaume

  6. @Guillaume
    I just was wondering whether there are travel agent review sites out there by consumers.

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