Travel Counsellors – The Future of Travel Agents: Working From Home!


Coincidentally I got into contact with Bianca Maoua of the Dutch Branch of Travel Counsellors. A thriving franchise that is branching out despite the travel agent walk or kick out all over the world.

It was a very nice first encounter and I do believe this is the future alternative for the High Street Travel Agent.

Off course I’m biased, because I’m so used to the home working travel agent already: In my former life I worked 24/7 and had to change travel itineraries the very last moment (usually between 10 PM and 2.30AM). We then used a lady whose name I’ve forgotten sadly, but who was located in LA and worked there from home and from an office and helped us with airline leg scheduling and Hotel reservations when all Travel Agents here in The Netherlands were closed. This was in the late 80ies and early 90ies, way before Internet, but she had acces to GDS and could work with it and, more importantly knew how to trick the system…the now not permitted reverse your leg trip and so. Later I used a guy wo could tweak the same GDS with … just an embryonal PC…

About Travel Counsellors

Founded : 1994 by Chairman David Speakman

200 staff are located at the company’s Headquarters in the UK headquarters in Bolton. 40 more in overseas offices.

Over 1,000 home based self employed agents, located throughout the UK along with Ireland, the Netherlands, the US, Germany, South Africa and Australia. Further overseas expansion is planned. 83% of the agents are women, 77% have children, 71% are aged between 31 and 50 with an average of 19 years experience. Before joining Travel Counsellors 60% were either managers, deputy mangers or owners of high street / retail travel agencies

The company’s turnover has increased from its 1993 level of £510,000 to £245m for the financial year ending October 31 2008.

What they sell:
Packages represent 20% of total sales, including traditional package holidays from the (UK) big four. Tailor made holidays are about two thirds (65%) of our business, booked either with specialist tour operators or dynamically packaged using our own award winning Phenix system. The remaining 15% consists of cruise and business travel bookings.

Impressive! Even if you are net savvy they can save you tremendous time! They claim their Phenix system makes them better informed than any customer shopping on the internet….

I do permit myself a comment: Their site needs loads of more content! Syndication perhaps?

And a question: Are there genuine travel agent review sites out there?

Street Art (13): Please Don't Pee in Public! – Luzinterruptus Intervention

Please Don't Pee in Public by Luzinterruptus 01 is a Spanish collective of artists specialized in Interventions. This time they draw attention to public urinating. By installing “public toilets” in places they chose by their noses, easy to find places where the smell tells, they hope to remind people to abstain from this anti social behavior. I second!


What annoys us is seeing how during the day and nigh people urinate anywhere in the streets without any embarrassment. They just walk along, turn round, zip down and, even in crowded places, seen by passers-by, let go.

Along San Ildefonso square and surrounding side streets in Madrid, Spain they installed 80 male urine containers, the ones used in hospitals, filled then with yellow water and added a little light. A powerful poetic protest I would say.

Please Don't Pee in Public by Luzinterruptus 02

Photographs from Gustavo Sanabria who also maintains a Flickr Luzinterruptus set

Via a wonderful site unurth – street art which specializes in street art from all over the world. Definitely worth a look!

Food Art – Insane Sandwiches

rubiks club wich

Rubik’s Clubwich

Thought we needed a smile after the seriousness of creativity from Chaos.

Came across this blog Insane Wiches, Insane Sandwich Fun, from which I’ll share a few good ones. He (or she?) is on Twitter as well: @insanewich, but not very communicative.



And finally this very clever


Wino Sandwich

Let Chaos Inspire you – Grab a Sneak Preview

Regular readers know I publish on the side at Trendhunter, a cool community that scores the net in search of everything trendy.

Actually if you are really curious to know into what direction fashion, style, architecture, design, hotels, marketing, advertizing and many more topics are moving: Trendhunter offers you a daily one stop opportunity to remain up to date.

Like me, you could consider to become a free member and enjoy the thrill of a hyper trendy and creative community.

Being part of that community enables me to share with you a sneak preview of a very interesting upcoming book by the chief of the tribe, Jeremy Gutsche, Exploiting Chaos.

Jeremy is becoming one of the trend gurus by his own of this era. More than 30,000 members of the community contribute he skillfully knitted together contribute trends to the TrendHunter site. Like no one else Jeremy has his finger on the pulse of the crowds, or the tribes like Seth Godin likes to call us. He offers great insight and a chance to reflect on the near future.

DID YOU KNOW THAT Hewlett-Packard, Disney, Hyatt, MTV, CNN, Microsoft, Burger King, and GE all started during periods of economic recession? Periods of uncertainty fuel tremendous opportunity, but they also reshuffle the deck and change the rules of the game. That’s where EXPLOITING CHAOS comes in…

Read in the Sneak Preview about the fast changes that affect big companies and how small entrepreneurs were and will be able to thrive on new ideas.

The book will be available in the bookstores from September 1, 2009.

You can now download a 45 page Sneak Preview for free!

iFly – KLM Royal Dutch Airline’s new interactive online multimedia Inflight Magazine (Dutch Design 48)

Recently, after a testing 6 months with 3 numbers, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has launched number 4 of its interactive multimedia on-line in-flight magazine iFly. It is available in the Dutch and English language.

It is not KLM’s intention to scrap the paper magazine (yet?), but it is an interesting experiment. The topic presented to the viewer are based on the viewers behavior and interests, for instance the time a viewer spends on a certain topic.

An very interesting format for future blogs and hotel sites as well. Media gurus love the clickrate and time spent on the site….


I was a bit surprised not having found more on the subject.

Then I found this post of

After each new issue they send an e-mail to their subscribers.

* After their third issue, KLM has found that iFly is their best marketing tool ever used to sell repeat tickets.
* The average reader spends 20 minutes reading the magazine.
* 20% read the entire magazine.
* Frequent flyers are heavy users of the magazine.
* The click-through rate of iFly is higher than any other online campaign from KLM.