Starting a new business can be a daunting prospect, but one of TravelManagers’ newest personal travel managers (PTMs), Mark Devers, has certainly hit the ground running.
Devers, who is representative for Gembrook in Victoria, recently accepted the award for new personal travel manager of the year at TravelManagers’ recent National Conference awards night, both for his region (Victoria and Tasmania) and nationally.
Despite a strong background in the travel industry, Devers says he was initially wary of the pitfalls of moving from a traditional travel agency environment to TravelManagers’ home-based model, but quickly discovered just what an easy decision it was.
“We had just moved the family to Gembrook in the Dandenong Ranges, so the idea of working from home and just visiting clients when needed really appealed. I spent a lot of time talking to colleagues and friends that had made similar career moves, and they all had only good things to say,” says Devers. “One person in particular answered my 50+ questions which really helped me!”
Devers says he was most concerned about the normal day-to-day aspects of running his own business – issues such as tax, accounting – but says the support from TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office (NPO) has been fantastic.
“Kellie Browning is one of TravelManagers’ state-based business partnership managers. She came to my house and answered my list of outstanding questions. My wife was able to sit in on the meeting as well, which was great because she has been and continues to be a big part of the success of this move.”
When contemplating making the move to TravelManagers, another issue for Devers to consider was how well he would be able to adopt to the new systems; particularly, Tramada and Amadeus.
“I have been taken out of my comfort zone a few times to learn new things,” Devers says with a smile, “but I think that’s a good thing!”
Michael Gazal is TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager. He acknowledges that the need to quickly establish a business that will generate sufficient revenue for a PTM is one of the main sources of concern for travel agents who are considering making the switch to running their own home-based business.
“Our PTMs relish the freedom and independence of working for themselves, but it’s the National Partnership Office’s job to ensure that every PTM, from the most experienced to the newest arrivals, receive all the support, in every area of business, that they need.”
When asked what tips TravelManagers’ most successful new PTM for 2015 would offer to potential newcomers, Devers offers the following advice:
“Hard work and discipline are the secrets to my success. I make sure that I am always well-organised, getting back to every client, researching every detail and ensuring that I put enough time into each and every client’s trip,” Devers explains. “Plus I am lucky to have great support from my wife, kids and friends,” he adds.
“And ask a lot of questions. I made sure that I talked to the right people (including my wife), and made long lists of positive and negative factors.”
After two years of careful consideration, the positive factors in the end were too strong to ignore. Devers says said the benefits of his move to TravelManagers’ go far beyond the financial success that he has achieved.
“Just the freedom with my time and the ability to be around more for my family and friends – those are benefits that can’t be measured. I can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time and I find I waste less time doing tasks which are typical to a bricks and mortar agency. Having my own business has opened many doors in my life.”
For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.