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another provides leather-bound photo albums for her customers’ holiday snaps. This kind of service is helping Designer Travel to secure 80% of its bookings through repeat clients and recommendations. An impressive figure that has been boosted by the creation of an online rewards system using cashback firm Quidco for customers who recommend their friends to book with Designer. Inventive marketing is also


important with Designer’s recent Wise Owl campaign encouraging customers to book through an agent. This initiative featured sending out a cuddly owl, which Amanda proudly shows off during the video interview.


joint


.INDEPENDENT TRAVEL EXPERTS


The evolution of this homeworking company in recent years is explained by Lisa Henning, who is group membership services director for parent organisation The Travel Network Group (TTNG). One of the major changes is


giving ITE’s 120 active homeworkers access to all of TTNG’s 186 services across all of its brands, which also include Worldchoice and the Travel Trust Association. Homeworkers can also get


involved in any of the 48 events organised by the group, including four specific events for ITE – these are headlined by the annual ITE Oscars, which rewards the best- performing agents. The group is part of the Institute


of Customer Service and each homeworker receives individual marketing materials based on their personal development plan. It’s a strategy that seems to work, with a repeat rate of 74%. Digital marketing is a major focus,


with homeworkers having the chance to overbrand supplier videos with their own personal commentary. They can also take part in the group’s Cruise Club TV. More traditional marketing options include a range of six magazines, a


promotion with a cruise company on


more than 10 million pizza boxes and a partnership with Debenhams allowing homeworkers to promote their services instore.


.TRAVEL COUNSELLORS


Last up is one of the pioneers of homeworking: Travel Counsellors, represented by UK managing director Kirsten Hughes. The brand may need little


introduction, having been around for more than 20 years, but Travel Counsellors never rests on its laurels, even with a customer satisfaction rate of 96% from Net Promoter Score. The company currently has 1,600


homeworkers around the world, including around 950 in the UK. Experience continues to be the most important factor with an average of 24 years in the industry. Service is very personalised –


Kirsten mentions a homeworker who rushed to a client’s home to collect a child’s birth certificate for a family who were already at the airport on their way to South Africa. Technology is another strong point


and it is currently investing in a new learning management system, as well as providing a “help me” function if agents are struggling to use its internal systems. Travel Counsellors also supports


its agents through employing a professional counsellor, as well as offering a welfare fund and a health and wellbeing programme.


Some of the Independent Travel Experts team PHIL SAYS….


“For two and a half years, Club Med has been widening and diversifying its


agent partnerships


in the UK & Ireland, with homeworkers a priority. The personalised aspect of approaching their business and clients is totally in line with the experience that we offer. We like working closely with homeworkers and homeworking organisations to find new ideas to increase our business through their client base. We have lots of news. In July,


we open our first European Creactive site at Opio en Provence – with Cirque du Soleil – giving adults and children a chance to learn circus skills. In December, we open the doors to our multimillion-euro development of Grand Massif Samoens in the French Alps, a little over an hour from Geneva. And in summer 2018, we open our first 5T luxury European resort in Sicily.”


Travel Counsellors at the company’s new HQ in Manchester TOP 50 TRAVEL AGENCIES 2017 SHORTLIST 43


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