How to kickstart a career in travel
Some of the UK’s most successful travel consultants are former police men and women. Find out how they switched careers and how you could do it too.
Former detective sergeant Colman Coynes spent 25 years tackling crimes in West Yorkshire. So it’s not surprising he can interview anyone and find out exactly what they want from a holiday and ensure that they get it.
Having decided to switch careers and open a travel business in 2013 with his wife Rachael, also a former police officer, the couple haven’t looked back, growing their client base from around 100 to 700 people, selling over £5 million in holidays and being nominated for prestigious travel industry awards.
The couple run the Not Just Travel agent (part of Hays Travel) franchise Jetset, from an office in their Huddersfield garden but are adamant that the career change is not just about the money, but the lifestyle.
“The travel business was an attractive proposition,” says Colman who has been lucky enough to visit the USA, Barbados, Barcelona, Thailand and Greece as part of educational trips with the business.
“But I also love being my own boss,” he adds, explaining that as they can work from anywhere, he and his wife have managed to spend much more time together, and take a four-week holiday to Australia, while still securing bookings.
But why did the couple choose a franchise?
“I did a lot of research, looking at all the travel businesses out there. I was attracted to a franchise as I didn’t want to start a business from scratch” says Colman.
The Travel Franchise caught his eye as a company that was “fresh and new and forward-thinking”, and most importantly, franchisees don’t need to have a background in travel. The only requisite is that new recruits undertake a five-day intensive training course which teaches them how to use the necessary agent booking systems, as well as an introduction to all the hundreds of different holidays they can sell.
Following basic training, every business owner is appointed a Business Development Manager (BDM) who has years of travel experience and can help iron out any problems, establish goals and help achieve personal targets.
Faye Ford is another successful travel consultant who recently switched careers and joined The Travel Franchise in 2021 after over 17 years in the police. She runs her travel business alongside her part-time job as a wedding photographer and attributes her success (and happiness) to hard work and the training and support given by The Travel Franchise.
“Life’s too short to be unhappy and stuck in something feeling miserable. Now I’ve got this brilliant business that I enjoy coming to work in every day. Everything to do with travel and with The Travel Franchise is really interesting and positive.”
While some franchisees start full time, others become a part-time personal travel consultant to earn an extra income to top up a pension. Either way, the secret to success, according to travel consultant Sarah Watts, another former police officer, is the ability to enjoy researching and talking about holidays.
Sarah is quick to point out that she doesn’t see herself as a travel agent, but as a personal consultant who runs a travel business. “If you just view it as being a travel agent and booking a holiday, it’s very two dimensional. View your business – and what you do – as helping people have amazing experiences instead. We just happen to do it through holidays. There’s a real difference.”
Q&A: THE TRAVEL FRANCHISE
Speaking to Jenny Farenden, NJT Head of Franchise Marketing
Can I really become a travel consultant in under a week?
Yes. The Travel Franchise is the number one company in the UK for people with zero travel experience who want to buy a franchise and run a thriving home-based travel agency. After a five-day induction, you’ll become a Not Just Travel consultant, book holidays, choose your own hours, run your own business and be your own boss. Prices start from just £2,995 +VAT.
And I don’t need any experience in the travel industry?
Correct. The majority of Not Just Travel consultants have never worked in the travel industry before and two thirds have never worked for themselves either. A further two thirds start their journey part time, so they can keep their existing income until their business grows.
Does The Travel Franchise offer ongoing training and support?
Yes, after the initial five-day induction consultants are allocated a business development manager (BDM) and enjoy support from the Not Just Travel operations team. Consultants also have the chance to train with Not Just Travel partners and suppliers who provide everything from package holidays to golf, ski and cruising.
What sort of holidays can I sell if I become a travel consultant?
The Travel Franchise/Not Just Travel are part of the Hays Travel Independence Group with over £2m worth of travel buying power, enabling you to sell a vast variety of escapes at competitive prices. As a Not Just Travel consultant, you’ll sell holidays – all protected by the industry body of ABTA and the ATOL scheme – from over 450 tour operators.
How do I earn money?
As an agent, you will always earn commission – a percentage of the overall cost – on every type of travel that you sell, whether that’s a flight, hotel or cruise, typically after the trip has taken place. One of our new recruits secured a £1 million booking in just three months. You do the maths.
Will I get to travel?
Yes. The Travel Franchise/Not Just Travel run world-class international retreats, ski and golf trips and host two annual conferences in the UK where you can establish long-standing professional relationships and friends. Agents can also join educational trips all around the world, hosted by our travel partners.