David Walker, aka The Travel Snob, a homeworker for Not Just Travel based in Nottingham, on the benefits of beavering away on bookings from his sunbed
I’m currently on holiday in Turkey and while I was lying on my sunlounger, a thought suddenly struck me. When you go on your own holiday, should you be just an anonymous travel agent or should you walk around handing out business cards?
Most who know me will say that I’m always on holiday – the beauty of being a homeworker for one of the better franchises, I guess. But I do usually return home from a break with at least one new customer, although it depends on where I go.
I’m here with a couple we met in Jamaica while they were on their honeymoon. They were about to buy a dog-grooming business but instead joined the franchise and we are now all very good friends.
Last night, we were approached by a very drunk lady who could hardly stand up. She was crying because she had booked a holiday online that was so bad and dirty – she cried even more every time she said the word ‘urine’ – that she felt she had to leave and pay another £1,500 to stay at our hotel for five nights.
You’d think she was the ideal customer for me to tell: “Don’t buy off the internet, buy from a reputable agent.” But since she was smoking like a trooper – and, when asked when she was due, proudly told us November – none of us offered to help her with her future bookings. We had to kick under the table the only person in our group who isn’t a travel agent when she started to tell her who we were.
Naturally, we moved at the first chance and are now dodging her as you would Donald Trump.
A free holiday?
Meeting customers on holiday can go both ways. One of my most pain-in-the-rear customers is someone I met in the Bahamas. On holiday, she is the nicest person you’ll ever meet, but getting her there is a nightmare.
By contrast, we met another guy and his then-girlfriend (now wife) in a rather swanky hotel in Portugal. They are now some of my best customers and we book lots of corporate trips for him and his colleagues.
The other thing to consider while you’re away – especially when you work for yourself, as we technically do as a franchise – is how much work you do. Here in Turkey, the three of us who are travel agents are all in the shade, beavering away on our laptops. Meanwhile, the non-travel agent is lying in the sun with not a care in the world.
My train of thought, however, is that if I can book holidays and earn as much commission as my holiday cost, then I’m on a free holiday!
Yet looking up from my lounger, there’s not one person here I’d offer a business card, even though I’d be laughing if I booked 25% of the Brits for their next summer holidays.
So with that in mind, I’ll carry on doing the Sandals and Beachcomber bookings and let that pay for this trip. Then I can drink and dance as much as the others and not tell anyone who I am…
The joy of bigger bookings
It was great news when the customers for a £13k ski booking rang up the next day and said their friends wanted to go too. I’m just waiting on availability on that one. I had similar joy with a booking for a trip to Toronto, which started as two people and has now grown to nine . . . so far.
Time to crack on!
I’ll be on another holiday next week. It’s in a villa in a remote part of Puglia, Italy, so I won’t meet any new customers there. I think I’d best get cracking on making some more bookings here – or go and talk to a few people, at least.
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