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Mimi Ronald

Mimi Ronald on finding your destination

By Mimi Ronald

Travel Agent Branch Owner - Travel Counsellors

A career in travel and tourism was destined for Mimi Ronald who studied the sector at college knowing that she always wanted to work in the industry.

Mimi sailed into the industry initially as a Cruise Consultant almost 20 years ago.

Seven years ago, Mimi embarked on her own independent journey and became a franchisee of the multi-award winning Travel Counsellors, a corporate and luxury leisure travel agent supporting individuals and businesses with their bespoke travel requirements.

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What’s the Travel Counsellors business set-up and services?

I operate as a franchise of Travel Counsellors: it’s my own business and I have my own clients but with the Travel Counsellors’ backing and support.

The main part of what I do is corporate travel. I manage the travel for businesses that are sending their staff abroad. It's a way for them to have peace of mind that their staff looked after, ensure that their travel policies are followed with the added bonus of having all their invoicing in one place -no receipts to submit or chase.

I also have high-end clients who like having someone to support them from beginning to end from finding the resorts to checking them in – having personal service is what they appreciate from me. This means only dealing with me, I know their individual likes and more importantly their dislikes. Without asking each time, I will already know the style of travel they like to take and follow up with restaurant recommendations and tips on how what to do whilst they’re away.

My tailor-made service is for clients who have lots of different components to their travel and get a bit overwhelmed doing it themselves: they find it helpful to have somebody to arrange everything for them and have one person to speak to rather than trying to collate all the separate reservations and bookings themselves.

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What are the benefits of operating as a franchisee under the Travel Counsellors umbrella?

There are about 2000 Travel Counsellors worldwide and it’s an incredible network of support and knowledge.

Head Office supplies a great deal of support and we’ve got a duty office that will provides support in emergencies that can occur. When my clients have issues abroad, they are safe in the knowledge that there are people who care and are there to help if any situations arise.

As a large company, I benefit from the commercial backing that Travel Counsellors has which provides buying power to get better rates and be more competitive.

What are the advantages of using a Travel Counsellor for arranging travel?

It’s really all about personal service: you have a direct person to come to with experience, contacts, and relationships with suppliers. I get to know all my clients personally; I know their preferences and what they’re looking for. If things go wrong, I’m available outside of hours to help. The internet can’t compare in terms of the level of service.

What does the customer journey and experience look like with Travel Counsellors?

For new customers, I start by asking them about places they’ve been to and what they liked and didn’t like – I learn as much as I can about them.

Then I go away and have a look at a couple of options and come back to them and talk them through those options.

Once booked, we’ve got an app where they can view bookings and make payments. Before travel, I check all the advisories such as visas, passport validity, and vaccinations and, if I can, I check the customer in and send them their boarding passes. When they go away, they have access to everything on their phone – including a maps feature for if they go out wandering so they can find their way back to the hotel.

I also contact their accommodations to confirm the reservation and make sure that they’re expecting them and let them know if there are any special occasions.

I keep in contact with them while they’re away, to make sure everything is going smoothly, that they’re having a great time, and I always touch base with them when they get home.

"Exciting things are happening around the sustainable side of travel – there’s more opportunity to make better choices, be more educated about when you're travelling to, and experience things that are authentic and sustainable."

Responsible travel is a high priority for Travel Counsellors, can you tell us about that?

Exciting things are happening around the sustainable side of travel – there’s more opportunity to make better choices, be more educated about when you’re travelling to, and experience things that are authentic and sustainable.

I’m very much into advocating sustainable travel. As a company, we are stringent with our suppliers – we only work with those who meet our sustainable standards, and we advocate considerate and responsible travel and experiences.

How is the way in which people travel and experience the world changing?

The world is so accessible and available now. Family holidays used to only be as far as Spain but now families are taking their kids around the world.

People are looking for more experiential travel these days rather than the traditional fly-and-flop, although everyone appreciates a fly-and-flop holiday once in a while! More people are wanting adventures and experience; they want to see much more of the places they’re visiting – it’s an emerging trend as it’s not always been the case.

Cruise is a big product as well, especially being based in Southampton. When I started in travel 20 years ago there were just a handful of cruise lines aimed at people with more money, now there are so many cruise lines that are affordable with everything from ice skating rinks to simulators on board.

"People are looking for more experiential travel these days. More people are wanting adventures and experience; they want to see much more of the places they’re visiting."

Mimi Ronald - Travel Agent Branch Owner, Travel Counsellors

Where is on your travel bucket list?

I’ve got two children, so right now I don’t travel as much as I used to, but I really like travelling by train – I’d love to do the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada or go to Japan and experience the bullet train.

What’s on your reading and listening list?

I believe in the law of attraction, so I like to listen to positive things about that – I like Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins and I listen to Rob Moore’s podcasts which are usually about money mindset.

I try to read several books every month, I just read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.