Travel Counsellors has reported an increase in interest from travel agencies looking to migrate their businesses to the company’s flexible, platform support model.
The independent travel company, which supports up to a quarter of its global community of over 1900 franchisees to run leisure travel agency operations or corporate travel management firms from home or shared offices, is in discussions with 10+ independent agency owners seeking security for their businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The numbers of corporate and leisure business owners using the business platform to build their own teams, work collaboratively with fellow Travel Counsellors or work in shared workspace hubs was increasing by 25% year on year before the crisis, including instances where owners of bricks and mortar agencies transitioned their business and entire support teams to work remotely and operate under the Travel Counsellors brand.
Travel Counsellors Corporate Travel MD Kieran Hartwell says, “The conversations we’re having with agency owners are revealing that despite many businesses being able to open again, the period of time they remained closed has provided pause to reflect. It’s key that the industry now pulls together to support each other, which includes reaching out to smaller, independent agencies and travel management companies who may still be feeling uncertain about the future, with the message is that we are here to help, and more importantly, we are here to help keep talented people in an industry they love.”
A recent survey of nearly 400 people in the company’s recruitment audiences revealed that 65% of travel professionals were concerned about their future career in travel, with a third of the respondents confirming they were currently on furlough. Despite concerns, 70% said they still felt confident about running a travel business from home in the future, with 60% saying they’re still planning to launch a new business this year.
Overall, the company’s enquiries to launch new leisure and corporate business with Travel Counsellors are up by 20%. The survey further revealed that one of the main concerns potential new business owners had is ensuring complete financial protection for their customers in deciding who to migrate their travel agency to, or launch a new business with.
Travel Counsellors CEO Steve Byrne says: “We have a proven, successful business model supported by a technology and community-powered platform, and we want to ensure that passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who have built successful travel businesses over many years feel like they always have somewhere to turn to for help and advice, and are aware of the opportunities available to them.
“We feel there is a real synergy between the customer experience that many independent agencies deliver, and the people-focussed approach we champion at Travel Counsellors, with a global community of like-minded, caring travel professionals who support and look out for each other, and their customers.”
The company continues to report week-on-week sales increases as the lockdown restrictions ease, and expects this trend to continue as customers consider their options for this year and next and see the benefits and reassurance in booking with a trusted travel advisor. More so, the company’s Travel Counsellors and their customers are offered peace of mind through its financial trust, which was highlighted as a key concern for travel professionals when starting their own businesses.
Byrne continued: “For our part we’re focused on supporting our global community of business owners to advise their customers on their corporate and leisure travel plans as the world opens up for travel again. Now, more than ever, is the time for experienced, trusted travel advisors to shine, demonstrate their value and show care for their customers like no one else can.”