Diamonds in the rough!

Finding good news stories in travel right now is harder than finding a lost diamond in the Sahara, but every now and then a little gem shines through to give us strength and remind us that there is so much future in the travel industry.

Here’s one to share with you, this is how Holidaysplease Homeworker Debbie’s week started:

‘’If I hadn’t been grey before then I certainly would be now!
My annual group booking is always very stressful – but last year’s booking is now about to be changed for the 7th time!!! – The budget which did cover 6 nights AI at JA Beach Club in Dubai will now only get us 7 nights in Turkey – but I spoke to the client this morning and he is hoping to be able to confirm it in the morning – which is great because I was beginning to start panicking about losing £13,000 commission if he cancelled!! – but on his group WhatsApp page he has just written:

May I also take this moment to thank our super resilient travel agent Debbie who has spent months trying to sort out our trip amongst picking the bones up in her industry which has been affected the most by this terrible pandemic. I feel so obliged to get this over the line after the crazy hard work she has put in – thank you Debbie & Catherine who have worked tirelessly through endless bad news.

I will certainly sleep easier tonight! And so pleased he has appreciated all the work.”

Well done Debbie.

What we know will come out of these trying time is such loyalty. The situations people have found themselves in during the pandemic have served to remind them of the value of a good travel agent, our time is coming, and we are nearly there!

 

 

Enquire about joining our fab team and creating your gem of a story by emailing Cat or Gemma:

cat.reeves@holidaysplease.com; gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease.com

Cat Reeves returns to Holidaysplease

It’s always a pleasure to welcome people back to the Holidaysplease family, and our most recent returnee is Cat Reeves who has taken up the newly created position of Brand and Business Growth Executive with us.

In her previous time with Holidaysplease, Cat worked successfully in sales going from scratch to selling over £500k’s worth of holidays in her 2nd year.

Part of Cat’s new role will be to introduce the Holidaysplease Homeworking proposition to interested travel sales experts and her previous success homeworking with us makes Cat the perfect person to showcase our opportunity in the open and honest way that we always do.

Here Cat talks about her return to HP….

“They say if you love something let it go, and if you find yourself back there, well then you know that’s where you belong. That’s my story with Holidaysplease. In September 2013 I joined the family as a fresh faced 20 something ready for a challenge in the industry that I knew would become my home.

My experience with Holidaysplease this first time around, was that of a family, (2 of the Directors being those crazy Uncles you get in every family…). The role as a homeworker was unlike any other I had ever taken before and there is no denying there were doubts in my mind about my ability to be successful.

However the support offered by the team, from the leads they provide you with from day one, to the ongoing support of regular 121 calls and sales clinching tips makes the process, not easy… (as it’s certainly not achieved without sheer determination!), but full of realistic opportunity to really succeed.

I learned so much from Holidaysplease and that first hand experience, combined with the skills and network gained from my more recent BDE/Trade relations role at BHX, has brought me here to the very privileged position of being able to offer this life changing opportunity to other ambitious people within the industry.

I aim to be open and honest about my experiences and have 2 way conversations about whether it is the right thing for you. Homeworking isn’t for everybody, but let’s have a chat if you think it might be for you, as it may just be the first day of the best of your life.

Travel people, we have had a hell of a year, let’s take the reins on your travel career and move forward!”

Cat loves a chat so call her anytime on 0121 200 5720 or email cat.reeves@holidaysplease.com

Travel Homeworking Growth

Whilst we continue to positively map our way through the Covid-19 crisis, the Holidaysplease Homeworking Team are finding more and more time to think about Travel Homeworking growth and the development of their businesses over the next 12-18 months.

The market of course remains challenging, and also remains full of opportunity for the Travel Homeworking community.

For example, the sales achieved by the Holidaysplease Homeworking Team in March 2021 exceeded sales from our previous record from March 2019.

Yep, that’s right, we had a record March for sales in a market where many travel companies sadly reported sales being 80-90% down on March 19.

And it is those results, which by the way are not achieved by accident but by shear grit, determination and belief, that underpin our confidence in the future and why we are planning for Travel Homeworking growth right now.

One of our last blog posts before the pandemic hit was all about how you can grow a Travel Homeworking business with us at Holidaysplease.

Give it a read here :- https://travelhomeworking.org/blog/growing-your-travel-homeworking-business-with-holidaysplease/

The choice we made as a business and as a Travel Homeworking team was not just to survive Covid-19, but to be perfectly placed to thrive once the worst of the crisis was behinds us.

The record-breaking results achieved in March by the Holidaysplease Travel Homeworkers were NOT as a result of a large increase in the numbers of homeworkers in the team. They were achieved by increased productivity per homeworker because that has, and always will be our primary goal. To achieve growth and success for the business as a direct result of the individual growth and success of our homeworkers.

With Holidaysplease quality continually trumps quantity!

To become a part of our quality team just drop en email to gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease.com or if you prefer a chat call us on 0121 200 5720.

TTGtop50 Online Travel Agency of the Year

At the end of what everyone working in travel will testify to have been the hardest 12 months ever, Holidaysplease has again been named as the TTGtop50 Online Travel Agency of the Year!

And when we say again…we mean for the 3rd time in the last 5 years! Not a bad record 😉

All the team at Holidaysplease, HQ staff and homeworkers alike, contributed to the award coming our way, and all the team are immensely proud to win this award. And so they should be.

Throughout the last 12 months every single person involved in the business has gone way above and well past beyond in our goal to not only survive the pandemic but to also come out the other side ready to thrive!

We have put our customers first throughout as the incredible Trustpilot reviews of our service over the last 12 months clearly demonstrate.

We have continued to give our amazing team of Holidaysplease Homeworkers all the 24/7 support they need, only furloughing staff when conditions allowed us to do so without compromising that support. Plus we put in place a £100,000 fund for any of our homeworkers facing short term financial challenges.

And we made a commitment not to make any HQ redundancies, a commitment that remains intact a year into the crisis. In fact, we have ended up increasing staff numbers in our head office team as part of our plan to thrive post-pandemic!

The full story of the last 12 months that began with Holidaysplease becoming the inaugural TTG Luxury Homeworking Business of the Year and ended with our TTGtop50 Online Travel Agency of the Year 2020/21 award is told in these blog posts from the year.

It is an award winning story of a tough old year and how as a business and a team we rose to the challenge!

Travel Homeworking Post-Covid

Travel Homeworking Covid Recovery

Travel Homeworking Finding a Way

Travel Homeworking Pandemic Performance

Travel Homeworking Pandemic Peaks

If you would like to find out more about Homeworking with the multi-award winning Holidaysplease Team just drop an email to gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease.com

Travel Homeworking Pandemic Peaks

Heading into the traditional January peak booking period, the Holidaysplease Travel Homeworking team were realistic and at the same time optimistic about the prospects for pandemic peaks!

Did we expect normal booking levels? Of course not. Could we see opportunity? Hell yes!

Were our hopes for pandemic peaks blind optimism, or were there solid reasons to be optimistic?

Well, all the conversations the Holidaysplease Homeworking Team had been having with their customers towards the back end of 2020 indicated that a good number were desperate and determined to have a holiday to look forward to in 2021 or 2022.

And, whilst demand would clearly be lower than usual, with High Street Travel Agents sadly closed due to lockdown and many call-centre sales staff furloughed, there was a great opportunity for homeworkers fully open for business to grab a good slice of the market that was there.

Plus, there are strong messages to convey around why customers should be booking their holidays in January rather than leaving it to see how the land may lie later.

With less airline capacity in the market, many destinations and hotels taking their time to re-open therefore reducing choice and bed-stock, and many customers having already shifted their 2020 holiday to 2021, prices are bound to rise as the market comes back, so booking now to secure the holiday of your choice at the best price was a key motivator for customers.

And the flexible booking terms that many good tour operators have in place mean that customers can book without risk.

So we were confident in our assessment that January pandemic peaks offered a good opportunity for Holidaysplease Homeworkers to be productive, make bookings and earn some much needed commission!

The theory sounded good, so how did the month go then?

Well it wasn’t long before the travel trade press were reporting a pretty bleak picture of a “dead market” and “trading running at 80% down.”

At the same time we were pleased to see that enquiry and booking numbers through the first week or so of January were pretty much in line with our predictions, and as we got further into the month, the numbers just kept on getting better!

By the end of the month the Holidaysplease Homeworking Team had hit 96% of the sales target they had set for the month, and as a business we achieved 77% of the total net commission figure from our record January from 2020. So 23% down in a market reported to be anything from 75-90% down. Not good to be down ever, but in the circumstances a result for the team to be proud of.

Here our some other key January pandemic peaks stats from the Holidaysplease Travel Homeworkers :-

  • Top team member made over 100 bookings and £300k in sales.
  • Homeworkers smashing the £100k mark and setting new personal record months!
  • New homeworkers getting over £40k in sales and earning more in commission in the month than they would from an average travel sales job.
  • Over 4,400 new enquiries generated in the month.
  • Average sale of £5,937 up 19% on January 2020.

So, a normal January? Nope. A productive and rewarding one? Absolutely!

There is no getting away from the fact that trading conditions remain super-challenging and a mountain of uncertainty remains. However, with energy and belief the opportunities are there to be had as the Holidaysplease Homeworking Team ably demonstrated once again through January pandemic peaks!

You can find out more about Travel Homeworking with us at Holidaysplease by calling 0121 200 5750 or emailing gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease.com

Get in touch, we would love to chat!

 

Travel Homeworking pandemic performance

With record breaking sales in January and February, and being named TTG Luxury Homeworking Business of the Year, the Holidaysplease Travel Homeworking Team were on a real roll in early 2020.

Then March came along, the true extent of the Covid-19 pandemic became obvious, and the World shut down.

In subsequent blog articles we outlined our initial response and actions to the impact of Covid on travel and our business, how our performance began to recover, and how by reacting to the changing market place the Holidaysplease Homeworkers were finding a way to make sales and earn commission whilst most travel agents were moth-balling or making just the odd booking every now and then.

Looking at the 2nd half of 2020 from the start of July to the close of December, we can see how as a business and as individual homeworkers, Team Holidaysplease has been able to consistently out perform the travel market.

Firstly, our marketing team performed wonders keeping the Holidaysplease website busy with visitors and generating new enquiries for our homeworkers. Total enquiry numbers for the 6 months were down 6%, but that still left an average of 3,500 new holiday enquiries a month coming in which was plenty of opportunity for the homeworkers.

The result was a 22% increase in bookings to new customer bookings against the same period in 2019.

Although conversion and therefore booking numbers overall were lower, a 28% increase in the Holidaysplease average sale value to £6,385 meant that we achieved sales revenues equal to 68% of the second half of 2019, at a time when most travel agents were reporting achieving 20-30% of last years revenues at best.

And with improved gross margins, and lower discounting levels, we saw a 9% increase in the Holidaysplease net margin, resulting in net commission, the key driver of profit and homeworker earnings, being at 76% of 2019 for July – December sales. So down, but far from out!

As we head into 2021 with a National Lockdown in place once again, it perhaps may seem foolish to feel optimistic for the prospects of the year ahead, but that is exactly what we are. Getting on the front foot and believing that a decent result can be achieved every day of every week whatever the market conditions is a key mindset of every successful travel homeworker, and it has certainly served us well as a business over the last 10 months.

Online retail businesses continue to trade pretty much unhindered by public lockdowns and the closure of our High Streets, and travel homeworkers are uniquely placed to deliver outstanding service to existing and new customers even during the strictest of lockdowns.

And in a post-pandemic market that is sure to place service, trust and expertise above anything else, travel companies like Holidaysplease and individual homeworkers that have enhanced their reputation through the pandemic by being there for their customers and acting in the right way, will be in  high demand.

We are always delighted to chat with experienced travel professionals about Holidaysplease and Travel Homeworking with us. So call us on 0121 200 5750 or email gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease.com

 

 

Travel Homeworking Guide

As one of the most established and consistently successful Travel Homeworking companies, at Holidaysplease we were delighted to feature widely in the recent Travel Weekly Homeworking Guide.

The Travel Homeworking Guide gave us the opportunity to highlight some of the key areas that we stand out in the travel homeworking marketplace, and our key USP’s such as free leads, power-packed tech and no obligatory monthly fees. Click on “Why Work With Us” to the right and read more.

Also included in the guide was the story of Keeley and Linda who, in their words, “Started at the strangest of times during the Covid crisis – but now we’re nicknamed the dynamic duo!”

Having been made redundant after a combined 50 years service with TUI, Keeley and Linda acted on the recommendation of an existing Holidaysplease Homeworker to come on board and join our very first Virtual Induction in April 2020.

As they had worked together as a pair for many years, Keeley and Linda wanted to continue to work as a partnership which we were able to facilitate. Their can do attitude and fun personalities soon earned them their “Dynamic Duo” nickname from the Holidaysplease Sales Team Leaders.

“We soon fitted into the Holidaysplease family after being made so welcome” they said in the Travel Weekly Homeworking Guide.

“Holidaysplease made our training fun, and head office communicates every day with news, offers and client incentives.”

“It is a wonderful experience and we should have done it sooner.”

And judging by the success they have achieved already despite these strangest of times, we agree, they should have done it sooner!

We’ve had other travel professionals join us through the crisis who have also enjoyed some great initial success including Kevin who returned to the HP family after a few years working with a Tour Operator and is well on track to achieve £100k in sales in his first three months back with us, and experienced homeworker Debbie who joined after redundancy from the company she had been working with whose commission earnings from sales hit four figures in her first week or so after training!

Of course the market is not normal now, and achieving success is even harder work than it ever was. But as Keeley, Linda, Kevin and Debbie have shown, the opportunity is there for anyone willing to go for it with energy, belief and determination!

Our recruitment team are always happy to help people find out more about Travel Homeworking with us at Holidaysplease.

 gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease.com or give us a call on 0121 200 5750.

 

Travel Homeworking Find a Way

Whilst travel remains one of the industries to have been hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, at Holidaysplease we have continued to find a way through.

After a strong recovery through June and July as highlighted in our last blog HERE August was a bit of a backward step with the constant uncertainty of quarantine impacting sales.

Undeterred we were back on the front foot as a team in September, looking to generate more enquiries than we had in August, which we did, and get sales back up closer to the levels from our record September from 2019…..which we did 🙂

Whilst the market achieved in the region of 30% of last September’s total sales, the Holidaysplease Homeworking Team achieved 71% of September 2019’s net commission total. Still 29% down, but in the circumstances, a result not to be sniffed at.

The key to achieving this was to understand the dynamic of the current market place and then work accordingly.

Uncertainty remains, but so does interest. What has to be recognised is that due to the uncertainty there will be less people willing to commit and book however much interest there is.

This can be balanced off by generating more enquiries as conversion of enquiry to booking will be lower than usual, and actual booking numbers will be down even when enquiry numbers remain pretty similar.

Hold on! More effort for less reward, that doesn’t sound like much of an opportunity does it??!!

 

Not really, but this is where a full appreciation of what is happening in the market really comes into play. There are two key factors that are combining to very positive effect.

  1. The Holidaysplease average sale has risen markedly over the last 6 months of the pandemic, and in September it sat at nearly £7,000 which is a 55% increase year on year.
  2. Discount levels are down as there is less competition in the market place which led to a 17% increase in the net margin on  our September sales compared to last September.

These two factors combined mean that Holidaysplease Homeworkers are able to earn the same commission in a month, even though they may only be doing half the number of bookings because they are making over 80% more in commission on each sale they make.

 Now, whilst the dynamic of the market place is creating opportunity, at the end of the day, it’s the attitude of each individual travel homeworker that is really critical to the results they achieve.

Thankfully Team Holidaysplease are a resilient bunch that like to find a way so embraced the challenge of servicing more enquiries in September than August, and worked those enquiries with the positive belief that a good number would book despite all the Covid uncertainty.

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re probably right” is a well known favourite saying for us at Holidaysplease, and we most often think we can!

If you think travel homeworking might be an opportunity you think you can make work going forward, get in touch. We’d love to talk to you about homeworking with us at Holidaysplease.

Just drop an email to gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease.com or give us a call on 0121 200 5750.

Travel Homeworking Covid Recovery

As outlined in our Travel Homeworking Post-Covid blog article at Holidaysplease we have been able to share encouraging signs for a Covid Recovery for the travel industry.

As reported here in Travel Weekly, as we increased our Holidaysplease marketing efforts through April and May, the new bookings followed.

From being 78% down in April compared to April 2019, in July we ended just 6% down against July last year. Now being down even a little would usually be a disaster in our minds rather than cause for a celebration, however right now it is a market busting performance!

Whilst August has seen a bit of a bump in the recovery road mainly due to the consumer uncertainty created by the governments quarantine policies, at Holidaysplease we continue to see good visitor numbers to our website and new holiday enquiry levels are running similar to last August.

So the opportunity is absolutely there once we see a little more certainty return to the market place through the Autumn.

Which makes us feel confident enough to have posted a number of new Head Office positions on our jobs page just last week.

And of course we remain on the look out for experienced travel agents and travel sales experts to join our multi-award winning Travel Homeworking Team.

To find out more just drop an email to gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease.com or give us a call on 0121 200 5750.

The Travel Homeworking Covid Recovery is on. The future for travel post-covid will be bright, and Holidaysplease is fully focused on being right in the thick of the recovery action!

Travel Homeworking Post-Covid

It is fair to say that quite a lot has happened since we were down in London in February picking up the TTG Luxury Homeworking Business of the Year award!

There is no denying that the Covid-19 crisis has provided the World with it’s biggest challenge of the modern era, and travel has been one of the worst affected industries.

Every single travel company has had to face up to and deal with a situation that was previously unimaginable, and Holidaysplease is no exception.

As the crisis hit the UK in early March, we made projections for the remainder of 2020 and planned accordingly.

We had three primary goals. To look after our customers. To support our homeworkers. To survive and come out the other side of the crisis in the best shape possible.

With an initial focus on looking after our customers and supporting our homeworkers, we kept the vast majority of our Head Office team working. This allowed us to stay in control as the crisis unfolded.

Once we had control and some real understanding of how the crisis was likely to affect travel short and medium term, we turned our focus to survival.

Holidaysplease is a very well financed business. We have no borrowing or debt, and the year leading into the crisis had been a record one for sales. So our cash position was strong. Whilst every travel company was going to find the next few months incredibly tough, we were in the best possible position to come through.

Our Bankers agreed and confirmed that they were happy to provide funding should we need it.  Still we followed a prudent path to conserve cash by cutting down on overheads and started to make more use of the furlough scheme.

Our incredible team of resourceful homeworkers cracked on with helping their customers re-book and their amazing efforts have resulted in us retaining over 70% of our no-fly affected bookings.

Testament to their incredible work and service was Holidaysplease being currently rated the Number 1 travel agent on review site Trustpilot.

And it wasn’t too long before we recognised that there was an opportunity in the market place for new business! Whilst the majority of travel had shut down, Team Holidaysplease got back on the front foot looking to make things happen!

Of course to start with the number of new bookings was nothing like what we would usually expect to see, nevertheless, through April and May new sales grew steadily and we booked over 60% of what we would usually transact in a normal June.

The strong business retention rates and our increasing new business has meant that we are operating well inside of the projections we made at the onset of the crisis and our focus continues to now switch from protection to re-build with a real confidence for what the post-crisis future of Holidaysplease and our Homeworkers will look like.

A key factor in that re-build will of course be the opportunity to invite more experienced travel experts to join us at Holidaysplease. We will continue to focus on finding the right people for our homeworking team, quality over quantity has always been our mantra. We have a genuine desire to see people come on board and be productive rather than just another bum on just another seat.

In saying that, we are hungry to get the right people on board and working with us. Through lock down we have already run two virtual inductions for five new team members, and we have another five being virtually inducted very soon.

So we would love to hear from anyone who is serious about travel homeworking as an option for the future.

An email to gemma.mcleod@holidaysplease or richard.dixon@holidaysplease.com will get you to us.

And if you want a little reminder of why Holidaysplease is a multi-award winning travel homeworking business, HERE are 10 of the key reasons.