Irrespective of whether you like relaxing on a sun-kissed beach with the sand between your toes; navigating the slopes and getting an adrenaline fix during a trip to the slopes, or exploring the streets of the world’s most iconic cities, there’s nothing quite like a holiday.
Bradley Pearson, an independent consultant at Travel Counsellors, prides himself on whisking his clients to their dream location, helping them get away with spare money in their pocket.
Focusing predominantly on leisure and corporate travel, Bradley is a staunch advocate of travelling, having embarked on a seven-month adventure with his wife through Asia, Australasia and North America. Since August, he’s applied his prior knowledge of the travel sector and has been helping his clients fulfil their travel aspirations.
“I’m a tour operator – an independent travel consultant. I’m not tied to any airline, hotel chain, or attraction supplier. Therefore, this gives me the freedom to go out with an enquiry, and source the very best deal that’s out there for my client, meeting their exact needs.”
By speaking with Bradley for support when booking a trip, holidaymakers are provided with a sole point of contact, who’s dedicated to providing exemplary customer service and minimising the stresses of a process that should be enjoyable but can be somewhat arduous when liaising with multiple representatives.
“I work at home, therefore, I have the autonomy to go and meet with the client direct, dependent on their location to provide a truly authentic service. I enjoy being that direct point of contact and cutting out the middleman.
“What’s extremely important for me is that within a larger organisation, there are often lots of PAs within a travel company who’ll make the travel arrangements. I save people a lot of time and effort because I do everything for a customer.”
With more people booking independently via apps such as Skyscanner, the question is often raised as to what the future holds for travel and tour operators. However, Bradley offered a simple riposte, outlining the benefits of using his services.
“It’s not unusual for people to think: ‘I can get that flight thirty-pounds cheaper on Skyscanner.’ However, when a prospective client raises this point, my stance will always be: ‘OK, that’s fine, but if something goes wrong, who do you pick up the phone and speak to?’
“There may be people working for the airline who customers can speak to, but they’re not necessarily guaranteed to be helpful. In paying the thirty pounds extra for my services, the client is given access to 24/7 support, and I do everything in my power to deal with issues very quickly.”
Although it may be tempting to venture to a shopping centre and book a holiday after gazing at offers in shop windows and flicking through countless brochures, market exclusivity is a huge benefit of booking with Travel Counsellors.
Bradley’s clients aren’t only afforded the luxury of fantastic customer service, but also access to deals that aren’t available to the public. The Cheadle Hulme travel specialist outlined how in this particular case; it isn’t necessarily a case of ‘less is more’.
“When a holiday is packaged, i.e. flights and hotel, flights and a car, a big combination or one that’s multi-centre, airlines provide what’s known as package airfares; the more you pack in with the flight, the better value the flights become.
Sometimes people can be reluctant to seek the services of a travel consultant because there’s a view that this option is expensive. Though Bradley concedes that there are costs involved, when the extent of the support provided is weighed up, using a travel consultancy is a worthwhile option representing value for money.
“Going to an agent or consultant can cost more. However, you pay for good service, but there shouldn’t be too much difference to shopping on the internet, because the margins aren’t there. People who come and use a consultant for a holiday or a trip are given one-to-one, devoted service and that makes so much difference.”
A keen rugby player, Bradley had initially anticipated a career in sport given his passion for the game. With sport now serving as a hobby, as opposed to the desired career path, Bradley’s on-field competitive edge has been transcended into his determination to deliver immeasurable customer service for his clients.
“Coming back from my travels prompted the trigger to pass on my experiences to other people. I learned my trade whilst working for five years at my previous employer, before thinking to myself, ‘I can do this on my own and go solo.’
“Now, I go to people’s houses on appointments, hand-deliver vouchers and tickets and offer around the clock service. If I’m asleep and need to take a call from someone in America, for instance, I’ll take that call. I have plenty of personal knowledge but I have the backing of a really big company, which is great.”
In an age whereby the world is in a sense getting smaller, given greater levels of global accessibility, the prospect of travel isn’t necessarily as intimidating as it once was. More people are emigrating, seeking pastures new and embracing the wonders of the world. For anyone stuck in two minds about whether they should travel or not, Bradley delivered a resounding message.
“My advice would always be, travel while you can. I speak to so many older people who say to me, ‘I wish I would’ve done that when I was younger.’
“Now, the chance is there to go travelling, and with things like Facetime and Skype, it’s so much easier to call home if you’re desperate to catch up with your friends and family. The opportunity to travel is huge, there are so many exciting places; whilst you’re fit and healthy, embrace it.”
Travel Counsellors are utilising the app culture to ensure that the customer service element for their clientele is seamless, with the introduction of their updated piece of software, myTC. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the application stores all essential travel information within a personalised customer portal, automatically updating and delivering essential information, including gate numbers. The innovative piece of kit is one-of-a-kind and has been designed to reduce stress when travelling, allowing passengers to relax and enjoy their trip.
“From the quote, booking, right through to departure, all essential information is held in myTC. Details of quotes can be checked on your phone, laptop, or tablet, and when you’re away, all of your vouchers and boarding passes will be in one safe place.
“What Travel Counsellors are trying to do is put everything in one place – clients will have all of their important documents in one place, in the palm of their hand. Hotels are moving away from paper documents and trying to make things electronic. myTC has my contact details, information about accommodation – these functions can be used offline and no further information should be needed unless the customer decides to conduct their additional research.”
Despite only being two months into his venture, Bradley has already identified goals and aspirations for his future development. Not one to rest on his laurels, targets are in place for personal and professional development.
“Regardless of price, I treat my clients the same. In twelve months, I’d like to have a local client base in Cheadle Hulme; I want to be known as the go-to guy for holidays who offers brilliant customer service.”