This week on #MeettheMembers we’re talking to travel advisor Susan Stevenson from Travel Counsellors. Susan has been a DBN member since 2018
Can you briefly describe your business for us?
I‘m a travel advisor and my job is to take the stress and hassle out of arranging dream holidays. I offer a personal travel service planning; bespoke trips tailored to my client’s needs covering everything from honeymoons to cruises, adventure holidays or solo and group trips. I’m also available for a complimentary travel planning session by phone or zoom at a time that suits my clients.
So there’s no doubt this past year has badly impacted your business. How have you coped?
Yes, it’s been a tough year for everyone. Travel is definitely a sector that’s been hit hard by the global pandemic and it will take a long time for it to recover.
2020 started out as a good year, but because of Covid-19, I had to cancel bookings and make refunds, many of which were from 2019. Hopefully the introduction of the EU Digital Green Cert in June/July will help travel open up again as it allows fully vaccinated people to travel within the EU without having to take PCR tests. This means that there is a possibility of travel from August, although I don’t expect many families to travel this year unless it’s during the Halloween break. However, when the world opens up again I’m confident that there will be pent up demand for people to see and experience the world again
How long have you been a member of DBN? And how has membership benefitted your business.
I have been a member of DBN since I started my business in 2018. People generally do business with people they know, like and trust and it takes time for this to happen. I am happy to say that I have done business with fellow members and look forward to this continuing when the world opens up again. Being a member of DBN has also helped me to grow in confidence. Before joining the network I wouldn’t have had the confidence to stand up in front of a group of people to talk about my business, and now I do it for 60 seconds every week. Delivering a 10 minute presentation about my business to the network was also something new for me, but the members in DBN were very supportive and made me feel at ease. As a sole trader it is great to have a group of people to call on for advice or talk about the challenges of being in business – I would highly recommend it.
Why do you think networking is important?
It helps build relationships that can be mutually beneficial. Word of mouth recommendations and referrals are the key to growing a business. As a sole trader it’s great to meet other business owners who understand the challenges of running a business.
What is the best piece of business advice you have ever received?
Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people.
Are there any podcasts / business books that you recommend?
“Rise Before your Bull” – Ciara Conlon
“Think and Grow Rich” – Napoleon Hill
Are you optimistic for the coming year?
I would say cautiously optimistic, but it’s all so subject to change. My enquiries so far have been for 2022; people are saying that because they didn’t get away for the last two years, they are willing to spend more and go for a more bucket-list, dream holiday trip. People are also looking for villas and ways to travel away from the crowds. Small group adventure trips are popular where you can book your own bubble of family or friends, usually for a minimum of 10 with private transport and personalised experiences. I feel confident that once we know more about when exactly travel will open up, we will be busy managing the pent-up demand of people wanting to get away.
Susan Stevenson, Travel Counsellors – Travel planning www.travelcounsellors.ie/susan.stevenson 086 3153593