Not Just Travel franchisee Sarah Watts shares her tips on becoming a successful travel business owner.

05 September 2022

Since starting her business in 2017, she’s gone from a career as a police officer to a highly trusted travel consultant.

Here are her top 3 tips for following in her footsteps.

1. Don’t think of yourself as ‘just a travel agent’

Sarah explains that running a successful travel business isn’t about just booking a holiday. 

“If you just view it as being a travel agent and booking a holiday, it’s very two dimensional,” she says. “View your business – and what you do – as helping people have amazing experiences instead. We just happen to do it through holidays. There’s a real difference.” 

She also makes the point that she’s not there to book a single trip for someone. She’s there to really care about their holidays - now and in the future.

“I explain to people that I’ll probably care more about their holidays than they do. I joke that they’re stuck with me for life!”

2. You really can find customers anywhere

Sarah finds her customers from a whole variety of places. 

Recent enquiries have come from people she’s met in coffee queues, at motorcycle events and even while giving blood.

Her advice? Be friendly and passionate about travel.

“Just make friends and help people! Talk to them and be passionate. People get attracted to that.”

And Sarah also explains that being away on holiday yourself is an ideal time to meet other people who love to get away.

“I went to Barbados and we got chatting to a chap in the swimming pool – at the end of the trip he asked me to arrange the travel for their wedding. They got married at a beautiful 5 star hotel in Cyprus.”

3. Use your marketing and social media wisely - it gets results

Sarah doesn’t see her social media or marketing as a way to make immediate sales. 

In fact, you’ll rarely find her posting offers and expecting bookings to roll in.

Instead, she wants to make sure she’s the first person people think of when they’re planning their next trip.

“I see my social media as there to inspire, excite and ignite people. So, when they do want to travel, they think of me first.”

She’s already got her next holiday booked, with plenty of ideas of how to use Facebook and TikTok while she’s away.

“We’re going on a cruise around the Med. It’s going to be amazing – we’re staying in the Yacht Club with MSC and the experience is going to be phenomenal. I’ll be filming my butler unpacking my case!”

Sarah explains it’s this, not offers, that inspires others to follow suit.

“Of course, it’s a holiday for me. But my social media is also helping other people who want to have that same experience. So, when they’re looking for something, they want to talk to me about it. I’ve sold so many trips from having been and done it. I’ve posted about it and then people want to do the same trip.”

However, sometimes you really do catch people at the perfect time.

Sarah recently posted her regular Sunday morning coffee-break update on Facebook.

A simple picture of a coffee being enjoyed in Positano on the Italian Amalfi coast inspired a friend to book a surprise trip there for her & her husband on the spur of the moment.

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