Franchisee Ben shares how joining The Travel Franchise changed his life
Ben will be getting 100 per cent of his franchise fee back as he hit the Money Back Challenge set 12 months ago. Ben said: I’m a bit of a spreadsheet freak. I’ve been counting down the numbers to hit the Money Back Challenge for the past 12 months. As soon as I hit it I shared the news. Dave, head of sales, contacted me next, and finance confirmed it within 24 hours.
“I knew it was going to be tough to hit it when I first started, but earlier this year with the news of lockdown and travel restrictions, I knew it was going to be even harder. I didn’t fear the news or feel sorry for myself. I knew that it would be an opportunity to prove my value as a travel consultant even more. By achieving the Money Back Challenge against all the odds it has only made me feel more inspired, energised and hopeful for the year ahead.”
Can you take us back in time, to before your training, to when you first joined?
I invested as much time as I could, alongside my other job, before my initial training even started. I created a countdown on Facebook to build energy and anticipation of this new venture. I let everyone I knew that I’d be there to help them with holiday bookings moving forward.
The result I had 10 holidays enquiries before my first morning of training! Things really took off from there, and I hit the ground running. The success ladder the franchise gives you really helped me, as there are always goals to work towards. You move from Bronze to Silver, Gold then Platinum.
As Steve, co-founder of the Travel Franchise, puts it in his retreat training: ‘Don’t think of the whole marathon ahead. Just focus on getting to the next lamppost, and the one after that, and so on.”
At the end of last year’s conference, Paul and Steve presented me with the award for the ‘Fastest to the Gold Level’. It was a great feeling. I did £340,000 of turnover in my first year. I’m now looking for my next challenge, reaching £1m turnover by the end of year two.
How did you grow your travel business?
I focus a lot on social proofing, particularly on Facebook. What bookings I’ve made along the way, people I’ve helped, I often share the stories in social media posts. I rarely talk about the cost, holiday deals, or any sales language.
Recently I shared a story about a couple who sadly had to cancel their wedding due to the pandemic. I worked with them to use the money for a trip to Morroco instead. They’ll be staying at one of Richard Branson’s properties and I’m arranging for them to have a traditional Morrocan blessing over there.
Other franchisees do really well in networking, whereas I’m really strong on Facebook, networking is only about 5 per cent of my bookings. Other franchisees are doing really well on Linkedin. One of the best things about being part of this franchise is everyone has different skills and we learn from one another, it’s one big family. The number of seminars, both online and offline, the support especially during the last few months from the Not Just Travel team went above and beyond anything I expected.
Can you share with us some insight into the last few months of being a travel consultant?
75 per cent of the bookings which were affected I’ve managed to rebook, which has really helped me. Only 25 per cent cancelled and requested refunds. Most of those cancellations, I’m confident will rebook with me once they feel more comfortable as things move forward.
Zoom calls have been incredible for me in the past few months. Recently I was on a Zoom call with four guys who wanted me to help plan and book their three-week road trip to California.
This is another positive which has come out of the recent challenges post-COVID. People are more aware of Zoom and it’s almost become the norm. This is a great way to increase your conversion rate of conversation to actual booking.
Why did you choose to start a travel business a year ago?
There were two reasons which brought me to The Travel Franchise. One was from a past experience and the other reason was looking to the future.
I was lucky enough to go travelling around the world with four friends for four months after university. I booked the entire trip for all four of us – I booked every night stay. This is the trip where I fell in love with travel. The idea of working in this industry and making good money from it was a dream.
The other reason was my husband and I were both looking to adopt. This meant a change in lifestyle. We are still going through the adoption process as we speak. Before joining I was the marketing manager for McCarthy and Stone, managing four teams across the country, I was always on the road. It was a very demanding role.
I was planning to grow my travel business slowly over time but it was such a hit within three months of joining the franchise, I handed in my notice. I realised that the travel business would bring me more income and would give me the lifestyle I wanted, so it was a no-brainer.
I now set my own hours, I am in complete control of my own destiny. I’ve been working hard for other firms for years. I now get a sense of achievement for myself.