Peter Rasmussen has hit the ground running in his new role as general manager of Travel Counsellors USA. Travel Agent caught up with Rasmussen, who is the former senior vice president, sales and marketing of Auto Europe, on his first full day in the company's Lake Mary, FL office. While just a few days past his official start date, Rasmussen had already ventured to Manchester, England, to visit Travel Counsellors' headquarters, as well as to Fort Lauderdale to attend CLIA's cruise3sixty conference, where the company had a presence in order to speak with potential network members.
Rasmussen told us that his goals for Travel Counsellors USA
include increasing the company's network of home-based travel agencies here in
While Travel Counsellors is new to the
While there are currently just 12 agents in the U.S. network, Rasmussen says he is not setting a date or a goal that he wants to meet any time soon for expansion; his main purpose is to grow the network carefully.
The new general manager picks up from Graeme Clarke, who has left to develop his own tour-operating program.
What lies before Rasmussen now is to follow up with a "very large group" of agents who have expressed interest in joining Travel Counsellors "to make sure they fit us and that we fit them," he says.
Travel Counsellors' Ideal Recruits
What is the profile of the agent Rasmussen will pursue? He says he is looking for full-time agents only, who already have a travel agency background. "We require a certain experience level," he says, noting that Travel Counsellors will foot the bill for any agent joining the network to earn their CTC through the Travel Institute, if they have not already done so. "That sets a level of what we are looking for," he says. Rasmussen suggests a Travel Counsellors candidate could include "perhaps a person who ran an agency who maybe decided to take their book of business and work from home. And they would sell every type of travel, from a single airline ticket to a full-blown $45,000 cruise."
The fee schedule for being a member of Travel Counsellors is flat, meaning all agents pay a monthly $75 fee and retain 60 percent of their net revenue.
In return, Travel Counsellors provides all back-of-the-house systems and maintains all client paperwork, so that agents can forge ahead to grow their businesses. Upon joining, new members are trained and "hand-held" until they are ready to go it alone.
"My feeling is, if you run an agency today and keep 60 percent of what you earn, you've done very well," says Rasmussen.
Jeanie Leonard is one of the first
Leonard, who has four years of experience with another agency, says that some of the benefits of working with the company include an Intranet service and back-office support, which allow her to grow her business.
"We have our own technical support persons to update
our computers, we receive our certifications for CTA, CTC, ACC, MCC, ECC and
Destination Specialists, all provided by Travel Counsellors. We also have our E
& O (Errors & Omissions) insurance provided for us, plus we have the
support of other Travel Counsellors from all over the world to get destination
recommendations from," says Leonard.