How one Study From Home graduate started her own travel businessPosted on 05/09/2018 by Jess O'Connor
Meet Shelley Williams: a recent Study From Home graduate and a new business owner.
Now Shelley is her own boss. Perks of her job include working from home (or by the school pool!), spending more time with her two daughters (aged 7 and 9), and even getting to travel on famil trips (this year she went to Laos). Inspiring, right?
We caught up with Shelley to find out how she started her own tourism business. Below she shares her story, including some tips for anyone keen to work in travel.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m 42 and live on a farm with my husband, my 7 and 9 year old girls, and lots of animals.
What inspired you to study from home with ITC?
When both of my girls started school, I thought it was good timing to go back to work. I realised I wanted a career that allowed me to spend time with my family. I really loved travel, but I needed a formal qualification to get into the industry. ITC offered a great Study From Home option that I could complete while the girls were at school.
What did you enjoy most about the NZ Certificate in Travel Level 4?
I liked the industry knowledge I learned. I especially enjoyed the assignments that gave my brain a workout.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career history? How did you get to where you are today?
My career history is very long! I started working at The Warehouse when I was 16, and after many years there I moved on to office-based customer service and sales jobs. By the time I went on maternity leave nine years ago, I was a PA and had been doing that for several years. While my PA role involved a lot of booking travel for my bosses, I was never in the travel industry.
Tell us about Clevedon Travel. What does your job involve?
My current job is as company director of my own travel agency, Clevedon Travel Limited. I work from home or wherever I can take my laptop (in summer this was often at the school pool). I find clients through local contacts, word of mouth, and online groups (e.g. Facebook).
Since January, when I started the company, I’ve done everything from designing my own website, to booking cruises, organising a 5* honeymoon for a Texan VIP, and I even went on my first famil trip to Laos.
What’s it like being your own boss?
It’s not for the faint-hearted. I’m lucky to have found a mentor in the industry that provides me with lots of support for free. In return, they take a percentage of the over-rides (a bonus commision negotiated with airlines on an annual basis). I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve felt stuck, but I’ve never been without help if I’ve asked for it.
Why travel and tourism?
I love being in the travel industry! The perks are amazing. I get to go to lots of events for free. For instance, last week I was at a Soulful Vietnam Showcase on Monday night (where I won 5* accommodation, a 3-course meal, and show tickets for Saigon! I’m going to give the tickets to the next client who books with me).
Last week I also attended a Buenos Aires event at the Air New Zealand Customer Experience Centre (where they had the most amazing food, wine, and live tango show), and a ship inspection of the Pacific Jewel on Wednesday (including the most fantastic 3-course lunch). There are usually free famil trips up for grabs although I haven’t been lucky yet!
All that said, industry events are not just about the food, drink, goodie bags, and prizes. They are about making contacts in the industry and learning about destinations, services, and other wholesale companies. I’ve met many experienced travel brokers through the events I’ve attended and they’ve been a great help to me.
What travel destinations are on your wish list?
I really want to take my family for a White Christmas in the next year or two. New York is magical at Christmas time, and I’d love to tag on a trip to Canada and Alaska to check out their extreme winter. I’d also love to sail on a Hurtigruten in Norway to check out the Northern Lights, and cruise everywhere on everything really!
Do you have any advice for students thinking about studying tourism with ITC Study From Home?
Do it! And do it to the best of your ability. All the resources are there for you, you just have to take advantage of them and ask for help if you need it.
Any final tips or words of wisdom for future students?
Keep learning. I never stopped when I completed my tourism qualification. I kept learning about anything and everything. There is SO much to learn in travel, I doubt I’ll ever stop learning. There are free web courses for the most popular destinations, all of the cruise lines, and even most of the airlines offer agent sites with training courses and information. The more you learn, the more of an expert you’ll become, and the better you’ll be able to help your customers.
Are you inspired by Shelley’s story? Get in touch today to learn more about our airline, travel and tourism courses.Posted in Inspiration and motivation, News, Student Success, Study From Home Tips | Leave a reply