Amanda Parsonage closed her deli to establish Grosvenor Travel in Chester. She talks to Benjamin Coren about travel and becoming a Tipto ambassador.
Q. What did you do prior to travel?
A. Previously, I spent 10 years running my own deli just around the corner from my house in Chester. Alongside the deli, I was booking holidays for friends and family online as a hobby. It was my husband who suggested doing it as my next business venture. I had accomplished what I wanted with the deli and I wanted a new challenge. Combining my business skills with a love of travel made perfect sense.
Q. Why did you join Global Travel Group?
A. I was looking for a consortium and Global ticked all the boxes. I had a few meetings with them, and it had a good vibe. I set up as Grosvenor Travel in March 2017, and went live in June. Having Global’s support is great. I had the knowledge to run a business but travel was a whole new world. It was a big learning curve.
“I believe a mix of face-to-face and online training can provide optimum opportunities for agents.”
Q. What do you like about running a business?
A. It’s a lot more flexible and it fits in around my two children. So if I want to pop out and watch my children in their nativity play, for example, then I can do that and catch up later. I’m not tied to shop hours any more. It also enables me to provide a higher level of service to my customers, as it’s just me.
Q. What drew you to Tipto?
A. Tipto was the first travel event I went to. I attended a few weeks after starting up the business and it was a great introduction to the training events. I soon started attending events a bit farther afield, as I wanted to get up to speed and gain more knowledge. I believe a mix of face-to-face and online training can provide optimum opportunities for agents. Online can fit into someone’s busy schedule, but you can’t beat a face-to-face event that focuses on one product and provides you with time to ask someone questions about a particular element of their product. Tipto offers both.
“I don’t think agents have anything to lose by attending, its easy to sign up and you can take advantage of face-to-face training.”
Q. How can agents benefit from attending?
A. There is online training, as well as in-depth training days and a full hour of professional training from an independent third party on topics relevant to agents. I don’t think agents have anything to lose by attending, its easy to sign up and you can take advantage of face-to-face training. If it’s free and being offered to you, you may as well take advantage. Travel is ever-changing and you need to keep up to date with it all.
Q. What kind of events can agents attend?
A. There are events to suit all needs. The roadshows offer speed-dating-style sessions with suppliers, which are beneficial, as you can see so many operators in one evening. You’re getting a snapshot of each product and of the different deals they offer.
Q. What’s your favourite Tipto event?
A. The roadshows – you can network with suppliers and it’s always a favourite. You can build relationships with suppliers and discover offers and receive handy tips on increasing sales. It’s a great opportunity to network and win some great prizes.
“In a Global Travel Group competition, I was also lucky enough to win a VIP trip to Ischia in Italy with Classic Collection.”
Q. Have you had any big bookings?
A. My biggest was a group booking for 17 people to spend three nights in a luxury hotel in Croatia. It was from a company that takes its staff away each year and it’s paid for by the boss. That was worth £28,000.
Q. Have you been on many trips since joining the industry?
A. I recently came back from Saint Lucia and Antigua with Sandals, and last year I joined a Fred Olsen cruise to Norway. In a Global Travel Group competition, I was also lucky enough to win a VIP trip to Ischia in Italy with Classic Collection. Trips like these are a bit of luxury and a reward for the work you put in, and a good opportunity to learn about destinations.
How did you become a Tipto ambassador?
I was a regular attendee at Tipto events and I got talking to events director Lorna Willis-Edwards. I was utilising my experience from Tipto and it helped my business grow. Now I can help pay that back. When starting out, you have no customer base, and growing one was hard.
By going to events, you meet suppliers. I got speaking to a supplier at one event and, a couple of weeks later, I sold one of its products. Had I not been at that event and gained that knowledge, I don’t think I would have made that sale.
“I was utilising my experience from Tipto and it helped my business grow.”
The industry is fast-paced, and attending events is a great way to keep up with the deals available. Tipto is great for all agents, as there is always something to learn. And as there are always new people coming into the industry, I can pass on that knowledge and encourage them to join. Being a relatively new ambassador, I haven’t had a great deal of time to get stuck into the role. However, I’m excited to be one, and in the coming year, I’m looking forward to getting involved with events and encouraging people to get on board. I intend to immerse myself in Tipto.
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