Not Just Travel has been established for over 12 years, and Alan Witt- one of the first franchisees to the company, has seen it grow throughout the years to now have over 400 ambassadors across the UK.
Focussing on a personalised service with access to great holiday packages and deals- Not Just Travel is one of the UK’s leading travel companies, not on the high street.
Alan has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to tourism, having studied in College at a young age. “I went to Bournemouth College and I absolutely loved my course- I was the only male in a group of 25 females!”
Not long after completing his course, Alan was offered a position at Thomas Cook in Kent- at the age of 18. “It was a bit of a shot in the dark for me really, but I decided to go for it. I had no idea if it was for me, as I had no experience but I ended up loving it”.
Alan stayed with Thomas Cook for a number of years, gaining valuable experience and moving all over the South East in different branches. In the early 90’s, Alan met his wife- Suzanne and the pair made the move down to Plymouth to start a family.
“I had never been to Plymouth in my life, but Thomas Cook offered me a relocation package so myself and Suzanne worked a few logistical challenges out and eventually we both made the move to the South West”.
After working for Thomas Cook for just over 25 years, Alan decided that it was time for a change; and after a conversation with a family member- he took a leap of faith and started a brand new position for their start up company. Little did he know that this would soon become one of the biggest independent travel agents in the UK.
“My cousin had this agency that he was looking to franchise; he offered it to me as a sort of ‘guinea pig’ or test franchisee! I was already in the industry and had years of experience behind me, I was looking for a change of direction- so it was perfect really”.
Not Just Travel grew from strength to strength, and after the initial efforts- the company now has over 400 franchises across the UK. Not Just Travel has built its success on the basis that each and every one of their ambassadors are ‘fanatical about holidays’ meaning that each individual is passionate about the destinations they are offering to clients. This is certainly the case for Alan, who puts a passion for what he does before anything else in business.
There is no better thing to sell than a holiday. You are selling an intangible. It’s not like a car that you can test drive- you are selling a dream, and that’s a big responsibility.
Alan joined Not Just Travel in 2009, and he explains that it has been great to see his individual client base, and the overall company- grow over the years. “When I first started, I did have a bit of a head start because I took some clients over from Thomas Cook. I also regularly take part in local networking events which is a great way to get yourself and your services out there”.
“The majority of my customers come through word of mouth, or repeat business if they’ve been using me to book their holidays for quite a while. It’s great to build that relationship with people. It sometimes even gets to the point where the customer doesn’t even say where they’d like to go, they trust you enough to make a recommendation, because they know that you know exactly what they like!”
“At Not Just Travel we are fully independent which gives us access to a vast range of trade suppliers that the general public cannot access. We work with over 450 leading brand and tour operators. That means we give you the best choice of holiday possible, at prices that you may not find elsewhere”.
“Because I don’t have expensive High Street premises, I can keep my overheads low, and share great prices with my customers. Booking on-line definitely isn’t always the cheapest option!” Alan has a wealth of experience selling specialist holidays to destinations like Lapland and the Maldives- both of which are very popular choices at the moment.
Not Just Travel are ATOL and ABTA bonded, meaning you can be confident knowing you have 100% financial protection
Alan explains that it is important to take time with his customers, to unravel exactly what they want from their holiday. “It is usually one of the biggest financial spends someone will have in their year, unless they are buying a car or moving house”.
“The most rewarding aspect for me is knowing I’ve done a good job for someone. When they come back from a holiday that we spent time planning- the smiles on their faces say it all and there’s no better feeling than that”.
Someone once said to me, you’ll never be a millionaire working in travel, but you’ll be made to feel like one a few times
“That quote is definitely true for me. I’ve had some fantastic clients over the years- and also I’ve had some great experiences myself, including flying on Concorde which was a lifelong ambition for me! As a travel Advisor I’ve been all over the world so I can personally give advice on a lot of countries. My absolute favourite has to be the Seychelles- it is unlike anywhere else in the world! It’s so laid back and stunningly beautiful- the beaches are something else”.
“Most big companies push cheap deals on social media, and you’re sucked into thinking that it’s perfect for you. If you were to break it down, perhaps actually it isn’t. At Not Just Travel I have access to a number of smaller, independent and extremely niche travel companies- who really specialise in what they do. That way we can really take time to ensure the holiday has everything you need”.
Alan explains that over the years he has noticed a number of shifts in the travel industry, and a rise in the popularity of cruises and river cruises. “Cruises were known predominately for the older generations, but now a lot more young people are being attracted to this type of holiday”.
Similarly, River Cruises have had a massive growth in popularity in recent years. “Unlike ocean liners- they are a lot smaller so you can explore inspiring destinations like the River Rhine through Germany, the Danube through Austria and Hungary, the waterways in Russia – Moscow to St Petersburg to the Mekong in Cambodia & Vietnam”.
“You cruise up the river and when you moor up right in the heart of the city centre. Unlike large ocean liners where you may have to get a tender to the port and travelling can take a while. It’s an exciting way to experience new cities”.
It is clear that Alan absolutely loves what he does, and with 35 years experience under his belt, he explains that he is known as the dinosaur of Not Just Travel!
Looking to the future, Alan explains that he would love to expand his franchise and perhaps have a colleague to come on board and help him grow. “There is a finite point where you can only do so much on your own. I would love to have someone come on board with the same mentality as me to share the workload”.
I don’t ever see myself wanting to stop because I enjoy it too much. I am extremely lucky in that respect and I don’t take it for granted. I kind of fell into the industry and ended up loving it.
If you want to know more about what Alan can offer, please get in contact on the details below.