‘My own Travel Business is my Passion’ – An Interview with Lizzie Adamson-Brown
This week, I am absolutely delighted to feature Lizzie Adamson-Brown, I have known Lizzie nearly as long as I have been out of the military and a Business Owner. She is my “go-to” travel advisor, both personally and professionally and I am delighted to introduce you to her. Lizzie works for Travel Counsellors, whom many people will know for personal travel such as booking holidays, but Lizzie can help you with both personal or corporate travel. Lizzie has worked in the Travel Industry now for 18yrs, having worked extensively in the Corporate Travel sector and now in Leisure, which she finds very exciting! I asked Lizzie some questions and asked her to tell us about her love of travel, her business and how she can help you on both a personal and on a corporate basis.
Tell us how you come to work in the Travel Industry? I started in the Travel Industry back in 2000 after I had been diagnosed with Cancer when I was working as a secondary school teacher. There’s nothing like a life threatening illness to make you re-evaluate your life. So, after some major surgery and being cancer free, I decided to choose a different path and follow my heart into Travel, which is something I had wanted to do after leaving school, but family pressures pointed me toward University, where I passed with my degree and went into teaching.
It wasn’t easy getting a role in Travel either, as most Travel Operators wanted experience, but I had to try and rang Airtours Headquarters. Fortuitously, I got through to a senior manager and this changed my life. He said the same things that I already knew, that I needed experience, but as I sounded ‘good’ on the phone, he asked me to describe the last thing I bought, to him; which just so happened to be a lovely bottle of wine! After describing it, he went quiet on the other end of the phone and said he would give me a trial. This led on to selling holidays on the phones to becoming a customer services manager in a short period of time.
After 3 years Airtours went through a bad time and I had to take voluntary redundancy, which was very sad for me. I then went on to work with Thomas Cook as a Wedding Co-ordinator in Paphos, Cyprus; which was very intensive in searing hot temperatures, but loved giving couples the most fabulous wedding/honeymoon memories of their lives.
Then what… I understand you then went on to cut your teeth in Corporate Travel, working for world renowned American Express, assisting some high end businesses, such as Microsoft, P&G and BT among others. From here, you went on to own your own Corporate Business Travel Company dealing with many Corporate Businesses, nationally.
So, how did you go from running your own Corporate Business to working with Travel Counsellors. It all started when my Corporate Travellers were asking me to book their Leisure trips, and I had to turn them away, due to the licensing that is required, so I contacted Travel Counsellors who didn’t hesitate to take me onboard (excuse the pun). I joined Travel Counsellors in 2014 with 2000 client contacts, they had never seen anyone join with so many! Travel Counsellors are a fantastic fit for me and my clients, who love that personal touch and being available on a 1-1 basis, “I was called a personal travel concierge recently”.
What do you love about your role? I absolutely relish giving my “Leisure Clients” the best holiday memories, and these clients, love the fact that I am totally independent and can source them most amazing destinations.
If you could choose one location to be on your Bucket List (and this could be somewhere you have visited before or not previously where would it be? Vancouver is the top of my bucket list!
When I travel, I can often be the person who packs the kitchen sink in her hand luggage! So what would you say, are the absolute essentials you pack every time you travel Lizzie? My ‘must pack items’ are my soft head/neck pillow that I use on flight, giving me a somewhat comfortable nap, as some flights are long-haul. Also, my worldwide multi-adaptor for global electrical sockets, allowing me to keep my phone and Ipad fully charged. I also take a spare battery pack in case I need to charge up in an emergency.
So nowadays you get to deliver the best of both worlds – personal travel and corporate / business travel. What can you tell us about the Corporate Travel Industry. So, my Corporate Travellers and I understand that Business travel can be a very stressful experience. Unfamiliar surroundings, time and performance pressures, networking in a second or third language, and a confused body clock all contribute to rising stress levels. If you can eliminate the unnecessary niggles that can sometimes accompany travelling, you’re in a much better place to deal with unforeseen stresses, delays or disruptions.
For some corporate clients, the stress levels can begin to rise before they have left the office, because I have found that many companies use a PA or an office employee to book their very important trips, but this can have an adverse affect on the business. Booking travel, can tie up an employee for hours on end, trying to source that perfect itinerary and they may still not get the best option. Using state of the art technology, I know how to manipulate fares that office PA’s or managers can’t access – due to the travel systems available. Without access to this type of software, it can cause flight and accommodation spend to rise acutely. I recently saved a company £16k on a trip that they said I wouldn’t be able to beat! Often, I can achieve savings through the optimum combination of routing, schedules and price.
My clients love the fact that we never close, I don’t ‘do’ opening hours. We are a 24/7 service that is available when it suits our clients, not the other way round. I have a duty of care which means no client will ever be left stranded or expected to make their own arrangements. My system monitors all my bookings and in the event of an incident or emergency, we can pinpoint and track clients who may be affected, wherever they are in the world.
How else can you help Businesses with their travel? I am able to provide Corporate Travel management data. Reports and analysis that show travel patterns, identify savings and monitor compliance. Helping to reduce cost and improve efficiency.
i know when we travelled with you – you recommended we download the myTC app – why was that so important? Our smart phone travel app ‘myTC’ means we are with you before, during and after your Business and Leisure trip. Meaning we can push important messages to you while you are on the move.
Lizzie, my final question to you is – if you could choose use one person (dead or alive) to sit next to on a plane who would you choose. My perfect passenger to be seated next to, would be my Grandad. He was my hero and he gave me so much love and support, I would love the chance to sit with him again. When he died I scattered his ashes on Table Mountain in Cape Town, as he always wished to remain there after he loved living there for many years.