Cruise addict” turns addiction into multi million pound business
“Cruise addict” travel consultant, Gaynor Speakman, 58 has turned her addiction to cruising into a multimillion pound business. She is so passionate about cruising that she even got an anchor tattoo while onboard her latest cruise.
Gaynor, who invested in her franchise with The Travel Franchise five years, says she loves cruising so much that she not only sells hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of trips each month, but even rewarded herself with a cruise tattoo onboard a cruise trip with the company, on Valiant Lady’s onboard tattoo studio.
Gaynor says: “When you start out and you’re new to travel, especially if you leave a high-profile corporate job, it’s a massive leap of faith. I’m grateful for where I am but I know I’m capable of so much more.”
Over the past five years, Gaynor has developed her cruise business by going the extra mile for her customers. Earlier this year Gaynor arranged her first assistance dog for a customer with a brain haemorrhage. A vital member of the family, Betsy the cockapoo reminds her owner of when to take his tablets and ensures he walks safely. Gaynor acted as the liaison between Princess Cruises and her client so they could enjoy a Sky Princess mini cruise to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. Gaynor dealt with the booking procedure, and ensured the client had completed the right dog health checks and certification to travel. To ensure everything went smoothly for her client, Gaynor and Martin, her husband and business partner, booked themselves on the same cruise.
Gaynor Speakman was 52 when she was made redundant at her job. Looking back though, her six-hour daily commute was grinding her down and her work-life balance was sorely tipped in the direction of work.
As a “cruise addict”, having been on 60 cruises so far, she knew her next step in later life would be – training as a travel consultant. Gaynor put her passion and inside-knowledge of the travel industry into good use.
And so, in 2018 the busy mum of two bought a franchise with The Travel Franchise which provided her with all the training, website, marketing collateral and booking systems to become a fully qualified travel agent in later life.
Gaynor loves researching destinations, crafting incredible trips and digging around for great offers. Some are so good she can’t resist booking them for herself.
Gaynor Speakman said: “I have booked one client on an amazing holiday going to South Africa travelling on Rovos Rail. It looked so good I’ve quoted myself for the exact same holiday for me next year!”
The Travel Franchise is supporting the work of industry organisation Encouraging Women Into Franchising (EWIF) by sharing a series of stories from a number of women to show how its possible to build highly successful full- and part-time businesses around other jobs or busy family lives.
EWIF is a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers, providing advice and guidance to women looking for a route into the franchise industry. Its aim is to encourage women to consider buying a franchise, to encourage businesswomen to franchise their existing operations and to help franchisors attract more women to their networks.
For more information visit ewif.org and thetravelfranchise.com