Dublin-based Gina Quinn lives in Santry while Martina Forde moved from Galway to Adare, Co Limerick, seven years ago. They both joined Travel Counsellors in March 2018 and have become very close friends since they both attended the same induction training together in Cork.
Martina and Gina tell us about their experience as Travel Counsellors:
Martina Forde, Adare, Co Limerick:
“I started working in the travel industry as soon as I finished my Leaving Certificate. I went on to open two travel agencies, Martina Forde Travel and Oranmore Travel in Galway. After working very hard to build up the businesses, I made the decision to close them both as I had become ill and I was struggling to keep everything at the high standard I had worked so hard for. I went back to college and completed an MBA at NUI Galway and subsequently went on to work for a large multi-national as Customer Experience Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as Asia Pacific and Japan.
“Seven years ago, I met my husband Ronnie and I moved to Adare. I continued with my job in Galway as I had the flexibility to work from home and commuted to the office in Galway two days a week, but decided to accept a voluntary redundancy package in 2017. I have two adult children, Davin and Danielle, who are now living in Australia and Chicago, so the time was right for me to try something new. I contacted Cathy Burke and arranged to meet at the Head Office in Cork. I was so impressed with the whole business model and ethos of Travel Counsellors that I made the decision to join very soon after my first meeting.
“The evening prior to my induction training, I met Gina Quinn in the hotel in Cork, where we sat for five hours chatting over dinner and it was like we had known each other for years! We had so much in common and a genuine friendship developed. I would count Gina as one of my closest friends now and we work extremely closely together and are in contact every day.
“I have to say that my one regret is that I didn’t consider joining Travel Counsellors prior to closing my two travel businesses in Galway. Licensing, bonding and public liability insurance were perhaps the most challenging obstacles for me as an independent travel agent. They are all taken care of when you are part of Travel Counsellors. The access to Travel Counsellors’ award-winning technology and hundreds of approved suppliers allows me to be extremely competitive, something I personally feel I was unable to offer as an independent travel agent. I feel very lucky to be part of such a great company, to have the support of all my fellow Travel Counsellors, and to have such a good friend by my side.”
Gina Quinn, Santry, Dublin:
“I have worked for myself for most of my life and while I have always enjoyed running my own businesses, it came to a point where I wanted to do something different for myself… something that allowed me to have a better work life balance to spend more time with my family – my three gorgeous daughters and my grandchildren.
“As soon as I came across Travel Counsellors, I knew the company was the right way forward for me. My business has grown quickly and I know it will continue to do so, because of my passion and love for travel and for taking care of people. I feel so lucky to have met my wonderful friend and colleague Martina at the very beginning of my journey as a Travel Counsellor.
“Before attending induction, the team in the Head Office in Cork gave us each other’s phone numbers so we arranged to meet in the hotel the night before our start date. We just clicked instantly and have not looked back since.
“Despite running our own individual travel businesses, we work very closely together. That’s the beauty of the Travel Counsellors community. It is such a supportive network of people who are all trying to help each other out and enhance our company reputation. We all help each other to get bookings over the line daily. It’s lovely to have Martina on the other end of the phone if I ever need any help with a booking or need some product information, as well as a good chat about what’s happening in our own lives.
“We recently went on holidays together on the brand new MSC Bellissima cruise. We had the best time together, but we also got first-hand experience of a great product that we know our customers would be interested in.
“I am delighted to be a part of this global company with some of the best technology and support available in the travel industry.”