Until two and a half years ago, I felt completely stuck in my job. I was working as a travel consultant with a well-known travel chain and needed a change. After reading an advert in Travel News Weekly, I made contact with Travel Counsellors. They were professional, well organised and keen to get me on board. Once my husband convinced me I was good enough, I made the decision to join.
I was really surprised by the amount of freedom I was given. I managed to make my first booking on my first day up and running - what a day that was! We have an amazing support structure and a wonderful sense of family.
One of the nicest things a customer has said to me was "Marijke is the best travel consultant I have ever dealt with in business. Her service levels, customer focus, professionalism, knowledge and dedication to what she does is admirable. Her passion and sincerity is evident in how she does the job. I have dealt with her for many years and she never disappoints my expectations". This made me feel like a million dollars!
I feel so empowered now. Being your own boss doesn't come easy. I sometimes work long hours and I have clients who call me after-hours. But having the freedom to come and go as I please is fantastic! I am definitely earning more and achieving gold status was one of my proudest moments. To be successful, all you need is to be reliable and passionate!
In my previous role, I was unhappy with the long hours, the direction that the work was going and the time I spent travelling to and from work in the traffic. I was working as an independent agency owner and was surprised that, with Travel Counsellors, I would be able to relax and enjoy my job, rather than worrying about the admin.
From day one, I thought that the concept of Travel Counsellors was wonderful. After seeing the presentation by head office, I was completely sold and joined the company in 2007. I finally made the decision to join so that I could work from home with the support I needed from head office. I had an established client base from my old business which meant that I had a seamless transition and carried over all of my bookings.
I recently had a lovely piece of feedback from one of my customers. She said "I have interacted with many travel professionals around the world, in many different capacities. None were as professional, responsive and enthusiastic and informed as Charmaine. My experience in dealing with Charmaine was both pleasurable as it was productive. I would unequivocally and highly recommend Charmaine to anyone travelling in South Africa".
Joining Travel Counsellors is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love being able to work in a stress free environment with the support I get from head office. I earn about 50% more than I earned before joining the company and my greatest achievement was being awarded 'Best Travel Counsellor in South Africa' for five years in a row. There's no secret ingredient, just hard work, dedication and the love of what you do.
In 2008 I saw a Travel Counsellors' advert on the Travel Info website. I was impressed with the adverts and they intrigued me to enquire further. I went to a presentation held at Travel Counsellors and I was immediately convinced that it would be the right choice for me. I joined in February 2009 and have never looked back!
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I worked as an independent agent with eTravel. The use of the best technology and advertising attracted me to Travel Counsellors and I was so excited to join. The nicest surprise when joining the company was the camaraderie among all the Travel Counsellors. Everything is family oriented with TC family days and great support from head office.
My first booking with the company was almost instant. It was a group trip to Egypt and it was such a great feeling! A client recently posted a testimonial on my website saying "every holiday we have booked with Natalie has been fantastic and extremely well organised. Natalie always goes the extra mile to make sure the holiday suits your needs and expectations".
I have a great business and I am earning more now with Travel Counsellors than ever before. In 2009 I was nominated for Best Newcomer which has been one of my best TC moments. I love being part of a worldwide network and being able to obtain first-hand information from so many colleagues overseas.
I'm married with two young children and craved the flexibility to spend time with my young family. I was working for an agency at a corporate travel company and became sick of the childish manner in which I was treated and the challenges I was facing.
Travel Counsellors seemed too good to be true, but I knew a Travel Counsellor who helped influence my decision to join. It took two years for me to decide to join but, in January 2010, I made the leap. I was most surprised by the excellent support from head office and everything exceeded my expectations.
I do a mixture of business and leisure travel and made my first booking only a few days after joining the company, which I was really proud of. One customer even wrote to me personally saying "thank you for always providing an exceptionally high standard of service". It was a real feel good moment for me.
Starting without a client base and achieving what I have in a short period of time has been a great achievement for me. I have followed the guidance from head office and found it very beneficial. What is most rewarding for me is the flexibility that I have with my time and this gives me the freedom to be there for my family when I choose. I love my life as a Travel Counsellor and I definitely don't miss the stress of working for a corporate agency.
Whether you're working in a retail agency or already working as an independent travel consultant, take a peek at what becoming a Travel Counsellor could mean for you
If you're currently in a corporate travel role, why not become a specialist Business Travel Counsellor and join some of the most ambitious and successful Travel Counsellors of all time. Travel Counsellors is a level 2 B-BBEE contributor.