The experienced Agent and TravelManagers Business Partnership Manager explains how TravelManagers allows you to work for yourself, but never be on your own.

Alison Banks has worked in the travel industry for over 24 years, with companies including Contiki, Trafalgar and APT, but she loves the variety of working for TravelManagers. In 2010 she joined the group as a Business Partnership Manager, mentoring personal travel managers and using her teaching and training skills.

“It’s diverse and interesting and no two days are ever the same,” Banks says. “My territory is broad, taking in WA, SA, NT and TAS and I work with the most amazing network of experienced, knowledgeable and passionate travel professionals.”

She tells us how you can make your own business work for you:

 

What draws people to TravelManagers?

Most often, people who come to us are seeking greater control over both their work and personal lives.  They may be trying to balance a rigid office schedule with family or with their own personal interests and pursuits which can be extremely challenging.

The freedom and flexibility that TravelManagers offer through our cloud-based systems and our solid support offering allow people to work anywhere and anytime and that’s an amazing opportunity for an experienced travel consultant to build their own business in the direction they want to. Also having a dedicated team of Business Partnership Managers around the country to mentor and support them in their journey is a real confidence-builder as they can rest assured that they’re not all “on their own” and are part of a 550+ strong Team.

 

What makes a great Personal Travel Manager (PTM)?

Firstly, they do need to be experienced travel consultants as our brand promise is that we are “the best of the best” and being able to service clients with knowledge and experience is paramount to keeping that promise. Our average travel experience across the network is about 20 years however some people are at the lower end, with three and others at the higher end with 40+… and it’s then a strong work ethic and an idea of what kind of travel business they want to create that will stand them in good stead as a personal travel manager.

 

Is it hard to build a new client base?

One of our personal travel managers based in Adelaide showed great confidence and tenacity in taking the step to start her own TravelManagers business.

She looked to build her passion for dogs (also breeds Japanese Akitas) into her business and had previously put together a group for a tour to Crufts in England for other dog lovers in her previous role at an agency.  When moving to TravelManagers, she started small and over time built a relationship with another personal travel manager who was doing a similar thing in another state. By joining forces, these two personal travel managers have gone from strength to strength with their niche and have achieved a very successful outcome to date.

 

Can you give an example of one of your a PTMs achieving their ideal work/life balance?

A personal travel manager based in WA previously owned a retail shop-front travel agency for many years and with her business partner, was responsible for staff, compliance and all that comes with the reality of operating a shop-front business with travel time to and from work also cutting into her days.

Since making the move to TravelManagers, she has continued to provide her valued clients with the service they are used to but has been able to incorporate her love of golf into her days and has more  opportunities to get away with family and friends now.

 

What do you love about TMA?

The TravelManagers network is an amazing family where we really get to know our personal travel managers and work to provide the support needed for them to reach their own business goals and create the success they are looking for.

Over the eight years I’ve been in this role, I’ve seen this level of support grow and develop with changes to the network and the industry… from digital and social media marketing support to corporate and cruise-focused support and even the newly-announced Employee Assistance Programme to provide confidential counselling support when needed. TravelManagers is a company I’m very proud to represent and I truly appreciate that they listen to their staff and take our feedback seriously.

 

What drives your passion both for career and travel?

I’m a self-confessed “travel addict” and it’s my passion for travel that saw me enter the industry 24 years ago and has seen me continue to grow and develop my skills across the various parts of the industry, from tour directing to consulting, managing, representing  some great companies and assisting I agent promotion and sales, I feel like I’m continually learning and I guess the ex-teacher in me has always loved to learn.  When you’re constantly learning more about something you love, well that’s a true “win / win” situation!

 

Can ANYONE make the change from employee to successful business owner?

Absolutely! I would say if you’re not happy with your current work/life blend and you have solid experience and have thought about how you’d like to work if you were able to run things your way, it costs nothing to find out about the TravelManagers model and meet with the Business Partnership Manager in your area to discuss the opportunity we provide.

We are honest and transparent about what we offer and how we work and are realistic enough to understand that running your own travel business is a new learning curve for many of our agents but if you’re willing to back yourself, consider the advice of those who’ve done it before you and make use of the multitude of tools and support that are available to you as a personal travel manager, you may very soon be asking yourself the question that most of our personal travel managers ask of themselves in their first 12 months in business… that question being, “why didn’t I do this years ago”?

 

Have you had thoughts about going it alone?

Written by Paul Chai, KARRYON contributor

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