When you start your own business as a Travel Counsellor, you will benefit from the world-class support and tools that the talented marketing team provides. Along with ongoing training to guide you on the best ways to market your business, you will have access to a suite of marketing tools designed to help you attract new customers, generate enquiries and build lasting relationships. From personalised luggage tags, marketing training webinars to social media content and the ‘MyTC’ app, there is an abundance of tools for you to choose from.
The ‘MyTC’ travel app is just one of the many digital tools that Travel Counsellors have at their disposal to enhance the personal relationship they have with their clients – and it is exclusive to those clients.
Since its launch in July 2016, the app has seen a 20% increase in the conversion rate of quotes to bookings, when compared to other digital marketing tools such as email, with internal research also indicating that customers are more likely to book after downloading the app and receiving their travel quotation on their mobile phone. Free to download for customers on Android and iPhone, ‘MyTC’ enables customers to view their itineraries and travel documentation even offline, to count down the number of days to their trip, to pay for the trip either all at once or by installment, and to share their travel details if they wish.
Travel Counsellors can personalise customers’ booking information with photographs, names and trip notes for each part of the journey, and customers can share their Travel Counsellors’ contact details with friends or via social media channels. In the same way that we see consumers sharing their travel experiences through social media posts, Travel Counsellors’ customers can now share their personal travel agents’ details and create shareable content with which their peers can engage.
Waseem Haq, Digital Strategy and Innovation Director, explains: “As technology advances at pace, we continue to invest time and resource into developing marketing tools that enable our Travel Counsellors to give their customers exactly what they want, such as social media content or online destination brochures, so that our franchisees have all the digital tools at their disposal to truly tailor-make marketing efforts to their clients’ preferences.”
At the recent TC Annual Conference, two Dublin-based Travel Counsellors were awarded for their excellent use of social media for business. Sarah Appleton (above right) won ‘Best Travel Blog’ for her account of a recent trip to the Galapagos, while Karen Pugh (above left) was awarded for ‘Best Use of Social Media’.
We interviewed Sarah Appleton, who will be celebrating her first year with Travel Counsellors this month, who tells us: “Back when I was 19, I spent a year travelling and working around Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. I loved it so much that I then went on to live in Canada for a year, enjoying Kelowna in the summer, living by the beaches and lakes, and Whistler in the winter, working in the ski resort. This was such an incredible experience for me and I knew that I always wanted to work with my passion for travel.”
After 11 years working in the travel industry, Sarah made the move to Travel Counsellors and hasn’t looked back…
Sarah, tell us about the marketing support provided by Travel Counsellors
“Travel Counsellors provide amazing marketing support and it is done in a way that suits each TC individually. As well as having a dedicated marketing team that provide training and fantastic content, including videos and images, we also have online training modules and a Brand Centre to purchase personal marketing materials for our clients, such as birthday/wedding cards, luggage labels, passport wallets, etc.
“The marketing team also create fantastic e-shots to go out to our clients with brilliant bespoke itineraries, covering a wide range of destinations, which is great for engaging the client and getting them to think about something different for their next trip. Our Head Office team really make it easy to be as engaged as you want to be with the marketing side of your business – they make all the tools available to you and it is up to you whether you choose to accelerate this further.”
What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a TC who isn’t confident in social media/promoting their own businesses online?
“Being a TC is about making things personal to you, and with such a fantastic support network in Travel Counsellors you will always be able to learn new skills in terms of marketing. I think it is helpful to use the guidance given by Travel Counsellors and find the social media that best suits you. I don’t believe you need to be present on every platform.
“If you are unsure of how to go about creating content the marketing team are always willing to speak with you on a one-to-one basis and work through not only the logistics but the creative side of what works best for social media. My next step is to start using these platforms more frequently, but I am happy knowing I can do this at my own pace as I build confidence online, using the assistance of our dedicated marketing team.”
What is your dream travel destination?
“My dream bucket list destination is Antarctica, I have been on several expedition cruises now, including the Galapagos and the Arctic, and I can honestly say these styles of trips are truly incredible and like no other, so one day I will make it to Antarctica!”
We also interviewed Karen Pugh from Dublin who joined Travel Counsellors at the same time as Sarah. She tells us that she has been in the travel industry for almost 11 years and has never experienced a company like Travel Counsellors…
Karen, tell us about the marketing support provided by Travel Counsellors
“The marketing support is phenomenal. From the approachability of the Head Office marketing team to the number of materials and products we can access. I really enjoy the marketing aspect of my business, so I generally tailor the material to suit what I want to say with support and advice from Head Office if I need it.
“We have our wonderful ‘Brand Centre’ with lots of fantastic branded items and you will often see TCs suggesting new items and then voilà, they are there in Brand Centre soon after, so it is evolving all the time too. There is no pressure either and you can pick and choose what suits and works best for your business.”
What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a TC who isn’t confident in social media/promoting their business online?
“Don’t worry! Although I love that aspect of running my own business and was honoured to win the Best User of Social Media at our annual Travel Counsellors conference this year, I realise it can be a bit of a minefield and I haven’t yet mastered it all either!
“There is so much support, whether it be from our wonderful Head Office gurus who are so passionate about helping you, to online tutorials/coaching and webinars plus lots of content ideas you can copy or adapt to your business to get you started.”
What do you love most about being a Travel Counsellor?
“As a mum to a young child, it is the freedom to work the hours that I want to and freedom to build the business that I want to work in. Behind the scenes, we have the best support I have experienced in the industry and I get to meet clients that I really love working with – all the time allowing me to be there for my family too.”
What is your dream travel destination?
“It is hard to choose just one but I would happily holiday forever in Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives or Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman – I want to go back to both! I am fascinated by the Middle East, so Iran is on my bucket list, but I also hope to get to Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe someday soon. My next holiday is Disneyland Paris, which is my three-year-old’s dream destination!”