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p12 trav counsellors dec5 3/12/08 15:49 Page 12
news conference report
Travel Counsellors conference 2008
21-24 November ■ Marbella, Spain
More than 1,300 travel counsellors and business partners gathered in Marbella
last week for the home-based firm’s annual conference. Lee Hayhurst reports
Star counsellor
Only Men Aloud, the
winners of the BBC’s
Last Choir Standing
wins new BMW
talent show, entertain
delegates in Marbella
TRAVEL counsellor David Luscombe was presented
with the keys to a new BMW at the conference for
recording the best customer service scores.
The firm measures agents’ performance using
Net Promoter Score, a rating system also used by
Retailer to expand
the likes of Apple, Nike and Harley-Davidson.
The system is based on one simple question:
“How likely is it you would recommend your
travel counsellor to your friends or colleagues?”
Suitcase operation
Respondents answer on a scale from 0 to 10.
The creator of the system, Fred Reichheld,
attended the conference to present the prize
to Luscombe and congratulate the firm for
TRAVEL Counsellors underlined its intention to Only properties recommended by counsellors achieving the highest overall score (90%) of any
grow its inhouse tour operation Suitcase as it or customers are considered. company globally.
seeks to evolve from being just a retailer to a Travel Counsellors is also improving the Other counsellors to receive awards included
full-service travel company. information its dynamic packaging system Edward Pearson (best UK counsellor), Jack Leaf
Managing director Steve Byrne said growth of Phenix gives about Suitcase properties, enabling (best UK newcomer), Ginny Scott (most helpful
Suitcase, whose sales rocketed from £3 million agents to give online quotes. It will also print its agent), Caroline Howden (best cruise agent) and
in 2006-07 to £20 million this year, signalled a own destination guides and provide luxury ticket Tony Snook (best business travel agent).
move away from reliance on third-party suppliers. wallets to Suitcase customers.
The firm, which has 1,000 home-based agents Byrne added: “Suitcase is never going to have
worldwide, said Suitcase will provide growth for the breadth of product of a big operator or the
suppliers that “add value” through knowledge specialist knowledge of a specialist operator.
and expertise. But it warned that those that did “Our agents have a choice of what to offer
not could see sales fall. in the best interests of their customers: they
Byrne said: “Us having our own tour operator can go to a third party or put it together
is no different from an operator selling both themselves.”
through agents and directly.” Byrne also revealed Travel Counsellors will
Suitcase currently has contracts with 400 start offering supplier failure insurance from David Luscombe (right) is presented with the keys to a
properties, with more being added all the time, January and is in discussions with suppliers BMW by Fred Reichheld (left) and Travel Counsellors sales
particularly mid-range and city-break hotels. about reduced deposits for hotel bookings. director Malcolm Hingley
Intranet adds community topics
charitable work and even a section on breast
cancer for those affected by the disease.
TRAVEL Counsellors has launched a community topics including health and wellbeing, and a Operations director Karen Morris said: “One of
section on its intranet which it hopes will help confidential counselling service. the worries people have when they think about
reduce its agent turnover rate to below 10%. Also featured are motivational tips by working from home is that they may be isolated.
The community section offers help and advice speakers from previous conferences, a financial “The new community section is just one part
on a wide range of business and personal planning section, details of travel counsellors’ of a whole range of ways we support our agents.”
12 05.12.2008
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