Managing Director, Infinite Travel, Glascoed, Monmouthshire
Emma Casburn went on her first overseas holiday at 10 months old. Since then she has visited 50 countries. Emma’s love of travel prompted her to launch Infinite Travel with her parents in May 2014.
Here, she reflects on her first year in the industry.
Q: What motivated you and your parents to open an agency?
A: I had recently come back from eight years of travelling and teaching English abroad and I went along to a Franchise Show in Cardiff City Stadium with my parents where we got talking to GoCruise. Afterwards, we went for a coffee and decided there and then that it would make sense for us to get into the industry as everyone in my family has the travel bug. I felt that setting up an agency would provide me with the perfect opportunity to pass on my first-hand knowledge of travelling the world.
Q: You’ve been to so many exotic countries. Why did you decide to spend so long travelling?
A: My parents have been to many countries. They owned a carpet retailer and would be awarded holidays if they sold enough of the luxury underlay. Once they got to go to Bangkok and the streets were closed off for them so they could have a tuk-tuk race. I stayed at home with my nana and when I heard their stories, I told myself I would travel as soon and as much as I could.
Q: Was it difficult to get started in the business and build up contacts?
A: It took us several months to get up and running as we had to work out the costs and the market that was right for us. Our clients were mostly friends at first, but now we have a great network of contacts. As we don’t have a shop on the high street, it’s all about getting the word out there and a lot of people have heard about us through word of mouth. We decided to go with the Global Travel Group consortium and they have been a great support as there’s always someone at the end of the phone to offer advice.
Q: How are you getting on working with your parents? How do you divide the workload?
A: At first it was a challenge as I was living with them and we were working together, but I have since moved out. My parents also spend six months of the year in Spain, so while I do the day-to-day running of the business,dad helps with the accounts and mum looks after social media and other bits of the business.
Q: Is it a shock to the system to now be based in one place primarily?
A: Not really because I still get to go abroad quite often. I went to Portugal with the tourist board recently. I’m also fluent in French and Spanish which is providing me with opportunities to travel. I’ll soon be accompanying the Ospreys rugby team to France as a translator.
Emma’s sales tips
1. Plan what your target market will be and how you will sell to them, and work on your USP.
2. Go with a consortium such as Global, which has a dedicated IT line and an Atol licence.
3. If you are planning on working from home, you have to be motivated.
May 2014: Set up Infinite Travel
2007-2013: Teaching English in South Korea, Changchun in China, Samara in Russia, Guadeloupe and other countries
2006: Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Celta), University of Cambridge
2002–06: BA in Modern European Languages, University of Liverpool
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