Cape Town Couple Starts Travel Agency Using Flightsiteagent After Travel Bug Bit
Mark Twain wrote “To get the full value of you, you must have someone to divide it with”. And if you can explore and discover new horizons together at the same time, it just adds to the most magical of experiences. This is indeed what Lauren and Mike Davies have been doing since their twenties, discovering the diverse cultures and incredible countries the world has to offer.
Married and living in Cape Town, they now run a travel agency, M&L Travel, because “we love to travel and enjoy helping others to too.” The Davies’ operate the business from home using the online travel provider FlightSiteAgent. Here they share their day-in-the-life of an online travel agency:
Q: It is said that a good work-life balance is one in which you work to live, not live to work. It certainly seems that you managed to turn your passion into a viable opportunity.
A:We started the business because we wanted to travel more on better fares. Realising how simple it was to offer clients this option by booking flights using FlightSiteAgent’s system, we focused our attention on marketing the business with the potential to grow.
Q: Tell us a bit more about your travel business.
A:My husband started it in June last year so I could work from home. At the moment, it’s just my husband and I. Our clients come from various sources, including family, friends and colleagues. We also get inquiries from the advertising we do on our Facebook page as well as word of mouth. Currently we are working on a part-time basis as we are still growing the business.
Q: How are you applying your skills from previous employment in this very demanding industry?
A:Having both been part of the service industry before becoming a FlightSiteAgent, we both value customer satisfaction. We thus understand the need to offer our clients a personalised service.
Q: Speaking of customer satisfaction, what is the profile of a typical M&L Travel client?
A:Most of our clients are from middle class income households, family groups with children. They are booking flights for their family holidays on average once a year. The average age of our clients is mid to late 30's. The bulk of our sales are for airfares.
Q: Your business is just over a year old and gaining a foothold among different players. What are your business plans for growth?
A:Our plans are to steadily grow the business while maintaining our personalised service. We would like to start a website so we can drive additional opportunities. We would also like to partner with service providers to offer our clients additional services and activities, more than just booking of travel, accommodation and so forth.
Q: What are some of the advantages of being a FlightSiteAgent and using this model to start and grow your own travel business?
A:As an independent home-based travel consultant I see an opportunity for me in my network to offer a personalised service without the overheads of a normal office-based travel agency. I also think that if you are someone who loves to travel and enjoys sharing your travels, then FlightSiteAgent is just another way for you to do this by booking flights and packages for friends, colleagues and clients. The fact that you can earn an income is an added bonus.
Q: You certainly seem to have a true passion for wanting to share the joys of travel with others. What advice can you give to those who may want to follow a similar career path?
A:You need to have a passion for travelling. Be knowledgeable about the industry - both domestic and international. Share your personal experiences with your clients. Have a willingness to go the extra mile and be diverse.
Q: If you and Mike aren’t taking care of other people’s travel, how do you relax and are there any special travel plans in your immediate future?
A: We like to watch a good movie, enjoy gardening and exploring the beautiful city we live in by hiking. We also hope to take a local cruise this year for our holiday, not sure which one yet, maybe Cape Town to Walvis Bay. And then at some point we would like to go to Hawaii too.
To become a FlightSiteAgentlike Mike & Lauren, register online at www.flightsiteagent.co.za and within minutes gain access to competitive air, car, hotel and fares. Agents can brand their business and then market it to friends, family or peers. Agents are also in charge of their own commission structure as they decide how much to mark-up base fares. And, as there are no registration or monthly fees to use the platform, overheads are kept in check.
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