I joined Holidaysplease in 2018 to grow a new side to the business called the Family Holidays Franchise. Much of the business still had to be developed, what was the model? How would we market ourselves? How will we stand out from competitors? What do we want to stand for? How will be beneficial for us and franchisees?
The business evolved and became the Holiday Franchise Company, a full-service franchise, offering our franchisees a personal touch and one-to-one attention, something we still, and always will offer.
There were, and still are various models available to someone thinking about starting a travel business, and rather than say what others might not do, we shout about what we do.
For example, our one-to-one training is totally unique in the marketplace. It’s something we’ve been passionate about from the start and we know how important it is to our franchisees. We see it like private, one-to-one tuition rather than classroom learning with 10 or 15 other people.
We’ve known from the very start the kind of business we want to run. At no point have we taken the opportunity for a quick win. By that, I mean we’ve never adjusted what we’re looking for in a franchisee partner just to get an easy franchise fee.
When running a franchise business you have to think about things from two points of view equally. One Is the franchise. We need to make sure that we live up to everything we promise, and more. We need to think about the whole business, how will one decision affect another franchisee’s business?
Two is the end customer, the holidaymaker. How will the customer be treated by our franchisees? Will our franchisees live up to our 5 star standard, and deliver outstanding end-to-end service.
These two elements are perfectly intertwined. Without trusting customers, there is no franchisee, and without franchisees, there is no franchise business.
COVID really tested the resilience of numerous industries. Travel was one of the hardest hit, with sudden cancellations and travel bans.
What that did was separate the wheat from the chaff. The bad side from travel showed itself, with a couple of household names walking away from ABTA and ending up losing a court battle, due to not refunding their customer’s money for holidays not fulfilled.
It’s only in hard times, that you can see just what type of business a company is running.
During these times, I was proud to be working for someone representing the good side of travel. Hundreds of 5-star reviews continued to flood in, our customers, although upset about not being able to travel, incredibly happy with the way we went above and beyond to help them.
Others that stood out to me for good reasons were my previous employer, Trailfinders. When COVID happened, I knew how they’d react. They’d do the right thing for the customer. No questions asked.
The other was Travel Counsellors. I have 20+ friends working with them, I knew that looking after customers was central to their model. I knew that, like us, they’d take a long-term view on the business. They’d want people to remember how they acted during COVID, which was in an exemplary way.
You can read previous blogs of mine talking about how I told people not to join us here , because the model isn’t right for them, but to take a look at Travel Counsellors because I know that they consider the same things as us. How well with the business work for the franchisee? How will the customer be treated.
So when the news dropped on us that Holidaysplease has been acquired by Travel Counsellors, I knew we were in safe hands. I’ll admit, I did have a few hours of shock. Anger maybe. Initially, it felt like a bit of a ‘rug pull’, but after taking some time to think about the pros and cons, I quickly realised just how important this move was for everybody.
Travel Counsellors has long been someone we admired in the way they run their franchise. The sheer scale of the business is remarkable, and to do this whilst maintaining standards shows a robust and proven model.
The systems and tech available to their franchisees have always been something we’ve aimed for. To put it in the words of our founding director, Charles, “Travel Counsellors is us in 10 years, they had a 10-year head start, and with this acquisition, we’ve just accelerated 10 years into the future.”
We know that The Holiday Franchise Company’s future has just become bigger and brighter. The way Travel Counsellors speak with us as piers, asking questions about our ‘pain points’, what can they do to make our lives easier, and more successful show’s just what kind of relationship this is going to be.
The person overseeing the acquisition told us that we should now feel a giant pillow of support around us. And we do.
We’ve gone from being part of a £40m+ business to being part of a £850m+ business, with more support available on each level.
Partnering with new franchisees hasn’t changed. You’ll still receive crystal-clear answers about each aspect of the business. We won’t sugarcoat anything or dodge any questions for a quick win. We’ll still only sign the people we think, will make superb, long-term partners.
The model is more exciting than ever. You’ll be part of a huge, globally recognised group, but with the personal touch of a small business.
As time goes on, benefits from Travel Counsellors will be considerate ‘drip fed’ into each franchise business. Nothing is being rushed, everything is carefully considered to make sure the right decisions are made for everyone.
If like us, customer service is at the heart of everything you do, and you want to build a travel business of your own, as your very own brand, take a look around our website and download our prospectus.
We’d love to talk to you, and get to know you, answer your questions, begin to understand whether this could be the partnership we’re both looking for, and most importantly, as always, we’ll be asking how this will benefit our franchisees (you), and our customers.