It’s been a pretty big year for Travel Counsellors.
Not only did they recently secure private equity funding from Vitruvian partners, they also welcomed in a new general manager: the wonderful Kaylene Shuttlewood!
It’s a very exciting time to be in the home-based travel agent business, with new research showing that more and more people are looking for flexible or alternate work schedules, not to mention the very tempting appeal of telecommuting.
Who doesn’t want to work from their own home, choose their own hours AND be their own boss?
Although we would probably never get any work done at home because we’d be far too tempted to get back into bed.
To find out about why everyone is talking about the home-based agent model, we caught up with Shuttlewood over a quick coffee and minimum interruptions from our office dog. Ok, there were a lot of interruptions from our office dog. He’s just so cute!
Shuttlewood told us that when you look at the UK, for example, there has been a 45 per cent increase in home-based workers over the last 15 years.
“People really enjoy limited commute time, flexibility over hours and ability to work out of hours when it suits the customer and when it suits the individual Travel Counsellor,” she said.
“And as a result, the business sees reduced overheads, increased retention and recruitment due to the attractiveness of the proposition and the access to potential talent that may not otherwise consider being a TC.”
Shuttlewood said the company has also evolved a more flexible approach for their office based support team, asking they work in a way that suits both the business and themselves as individuals.
It must be working because according to Shuttlewood Travel Counsellors’ employee engagement levels are well above the national average.
And that’s not to mention the appeal of changing work environments to younger generations.
“We also found that 54 per cent of millennials want to work on a flexible or alternate work schedule and 85 per cent of millennials want to telecommute 100 per cent of their time.
“Since I’ve come across we’ve had a number of millennials come onboard, I think it’s becoming more of a valid opportunity.
“We call it a future without limits. Don’t have a capped salary, don’t have a capped 40 hour week, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.”
Though that’s not to say the individual agents are all alone in running their business.
“And our differentiation is about providing the right support, the right technology, and a culture that is conducive to a more empowered digitally and personally connected, trusted way of working so we see that as attracting all walks of life is they fit that structure.
“Growing our business, we need to be brilliant and better than our competitors at finding customers and keeping them so ultimately the real winner in the attraction to home working should be the customer.
“Digital connectivity and social media networks now mean there are no limits to a scale a business for those with the ambition to do so. And support networks in place to help them along.”