Now celebrating 40 years in the travel industry, Cork-based Mary Foyle has been with Travel Counsellors since it was first set up in Ireland in 2005. At the star-studded annual Travel Counsellors global conference last year, Mary not only won the prestigious title of Top Performing Travel Counsellor in Ireland but was also invited to speak at the event – to an audience of 1,700 people!
For Mary, her decision to join Travel Counsellors was an instantaneous one. She had been managing a city-centre travel agency in Cork for 14 years before she made the move. With her four children – aged 16 to 11 at the time – becoming a Travel Counsellor ticked all the boxes for her because she could work from home and be there when her children needed her.
“I am one of the pioneer Travel Counsellors in Ireland. I have been here since the very beginning and joined Travel Counsellors two to three weeks after it launched in Ireland 12 years ago,” Mary told the audience at November’s annual conference in Manchester.
Holding Gold Travel Counsellor status (personally earning in excess of €68,000), Mary explained that by fully embracing partnerships with Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and Travel Counsellors’ in-house technology, Phenix, she has increased her earning potential. The DMCs provide ground support for Travel Counsellors’ customers, from meeting and greeting them when they arrive at the airport, to escorting them on unique excursions throughout their trip.
Mary explained: “I tend to pitch to clients in the mid-50s to early-70s age group – these are the people with maybe a little bit more disposable income, the children have left college, left home, and many of my clients are coming up to retirement or recently retired. What these people are trying to do is to start ticking that bucket list and just explore, immerse themselves in the local culture, experience adventure, and create memories.”
Mary added that by personalising an itinerary for clients, for example a honeymoon couple going to Sri Lanka, you can help create amazing experiences. “They want a little bit more than just the cultural sights,” she says. “They want to have a little bit of adventure, so they are going canyoning, white water rafting and climbing Adam’s Peak at sunrise with a guide as well. There are so many different things that we can bring to the table.
“I get very happy clients – they cannot wait to come home to tell me all about it,” said Mary. “I had a conversation with a client the other day that lasted 45 minutes… I learned so much from her after the holiday. Now I have so many more places to add to my portfolio and, of course, happy clients lead to brilliant referrals.”