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Travel Counsellors in Ireland Have a Unique Opportunity

Travel Counsellors in Ireland Have a Unique Opportunity

An entertaining and informative Travel Counsellors Ireland conference at the Fota Island Resort, Co Cork, attracted 160 delegates, including representatives of 46 suppliers, and ended with a Gala Dinner at which awards were presented to 10 winners, including Etihad Airways for Best Business Partner of the Year and Sarah McCarthy for Best Travel Counsellor.

Above are award winners Karen Maloney, Etihad Airways, and Travel Counsellors Sharon Tiernan-Murphy, Lorraine Lawless, Jennifer O’Brien, Sarah McCarthy, Sue Cahill, Jeanette Coughlan, Mary Foyle, and Diane Bowman.

Travel Counsellors’ Cork Head Office team: Caitriona Kelleher, Ciara MacConnell, Cathy Burke, Bernie Whelan, and Rachael O’Connell

Travel Counsellors’ Cork Head Office team: Caitriona Kelleher, Ciara MacConnell, Cathy Burke, Bernie Whelan, and Rachael O’Connell

Travel Counsellors

Founded in 1994 and based in Manchester, England, the company currently has more than 1,600 Travel Counsellors operating in seven countries worldwide. The highest-earning Travel Counsellor last year was ex-Trailfinders Drew Palmer in the UK, who joined just two years ago and last year generated a turnover of €4.4 million on his own.

In Ireland the top earner was Sarah McCarthy in Co Cork, who employs Val Gunn and generated a turnover of €1.5 million with an average margin of 14.6%.

There are 65 Travel Counsellors in the Republic of Ireland and a further three will join in April – Aisling Kutay in New Ross, Yvonne Lomansey in Skibbereen, and Eoin Walsh in Dublin. With 10 Gold Travel Counsellors (those generating over €1 million in sales), or 16% of members, Travel Counsellors Ireland has the highest percentage of Gold TCs in the world…and, perhaps contrary to a popular perception, there are 10 (soon 11) male TCs in the Republic.

Unique Opportunity

Chief Executive Steve Byrne told the 56 Travel Counsellors attending that there is a unique opportunity in Ireland for Travel Counsellors to establish a premium concierge travel service. “No-one else is doing this in Ireland and you are the best at what you do in this country,” he said.

“Travel Counsellors worldwide are also in the unique position of being able to combine the human factor of personal service with the use of leading technology, thereby creating a relationship enabled and technology enabled business with our Phenix system at the heart of it.

“We must also overhaul our attitude to duty of care, maximise our use of social media, keep focused on RR2P (Recruit, Referrals+Rebooks, Phenix), and push more bookings to direct contracts and DMCs.”

Jim Eastwood, Travel Counsellors’ new Global Sales Director

Jim Eastwood, Travel Counsellors’ new Global Sales Director

Jim Eastwood

The conference was the first Travel Counsellors event for ex-The Apprentice finalist Jim Eastwood, from Cookstown, Co Tyrone, who was due to start as Sales Director on the following Monday. Jim, who was previously Vice President Sales for Groupon UK & Ireland, told ITTN: “It is really exciting to be part of the Travel Counsellors family – which may be different to any other business.”

A delighted Ian Walsh receives his prize of two Business Class tickets to anywhere on the Turkish Airlines network of 296 destinations from Onur Gul

A delighted Ian Walsh receives his prize of two Business Class tickets to anywhere on the Turkish Airlines network of 296 destinations from Onur Gul

Prize Winners

Two lucky prize draw winners were Ian Walsh, who won two Business Class tickets to anywhere on the Turkish Airlines network of 296 destinations, and Gearoid Mannion, who won two Economy Class tickets to Los Angeles with Ethiopian Airlines.

Karen Maloney, Etihad Airways (centre), receives the Best Business Partner of the Year award from Ciara MacConnell and Bernie Whelan

Karen Maloney, Etihad Airways (centre), receives the Best Business Partner of the Year award from Ciara MacConnell and Bernie Whelan

Award Winners

Best Business Partner of the Year: Etihad Airways

Best Travel Counsellor: Sarah McCarthy, Co Cork

Most Helpful Travel Counsellor: Sharon Tiernan-Murphy, Co Meath

Best Cruise: Douglas Hastings, Co Donegal

Best Phenix: Jeanette Coughlan, Co Kildare

Best Margin: Jennifer O’Brien, Co Dublin

Best DMC Sales: Mary Foyle, Co Cork

Best Business Increase: Kathy O’Sullivan and Sue Cahill, Co Wexford

Best Corporate: Lorraine Lawless, Co Meath

Best Newcomer: Diane Bowman, Co Kilkenny

Conference Quotes

“My husband, Jack Sheill, is almost part of the Head Office team and checks our sales daily online – but only to know what mood I will be in when I get home!” – Cathy Burke

“I was recently appointed Digital and Innovation Director and spent my first four days calling those heading up each country. When I phoned Ireland and introduced myself I just listened for the next 58 minutes as Cathy told me what needed to be done and how I should do it.” – Waseem Haq

“Travel consumers are looking for people who can help them, not sell to them.” – Steve Byrne

“Amazingly, my local chip shop sells cardboard goggles for Virtual reality viewing!” – Waseem Haq

Seen at the Workshop

Emma Arnott, Amazing Thailand, meets Mary Foyle

Emma Arnott, Amazing Thailand, meets Mary Foyle

Tryphavana Cross, Visit Las Vegas, with Ian Walsh

Tryphavana Cross, Visit Las Vegas, with Ian Walsh

John Grehan, G Adventures, and Rosemary Chawke

John Grehan, G Adventures, and Rosemary Chawke

Jason Whelan, Blue Insurance, meets Mandy Walsh

Jason Whelan, Blue Insurance, meets Mandy Walsh

Sherry Meagle with Isabel Harrison and Declan Power, Shannon Airport

Sherry Meagle with Isabel Harrison and Declan Power, Shannon Airport

Luke Clarke and Amanda Middler, Silversea Cruises, with Maggie Bootsman

Luke Clarke and Amanda Middler, Silversea Cruises, with Maggie Bootsman

Lorraine Quinn, Celebrity Cruises, meets Lisa Brennan

Lorraine Quinn, Celebrity Cruises, meets Lisa Brennan

Claudia Lane with Onur Gul and Alper Kanburoglu, Turkish Airlines

Claudia Lane with Onur Gul and Alper Kanburoglu, Turkish Airlines

Diane Bowman and Frank McCaffrey, Air France-KLM/Delta Air Lines

Diane Bowman and Frank McCaffrey, Air France-KLM/Delta Air Lines

Blaithin O’Donnell, Air Canada, meets Dairine McGarrity

Blaithin O’Donnell, Air Canada, meets Dairine McGarrity

Helena Sweeney, Emirates, with Sonia Blakeman

Helena Sweeney, Emirates, with Sonia Blakeman

Brian Hynes, The Travel Corporation, and Roger Barrett

Brian Hynes, The Travel Corporation, and Roger Barrett

Kathleen Walshe, Cork Airport, meets Gearoid Mannion

Kathleen Walshe, Cork Airport, meets Gearoid Mannion

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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