Multi-award winning The Travel Franchise and its travel agency, Not Just Travel, is one of the fastest growing travel companies in the UK. Founded by partners, Steve Witt and Paul Harrison, the franchise now has more than 600 franchisees, each with their own home-based travel consultancy.
Colman Coyne is a franchisee and Personal Travel Coach with The Travel Franchise. A former Detective Sergeant with the West Yorkshire Police, Colman joined The Travel Franchise in September 2013.
Colman explains: “I have always enjoyed travel and as well as my day job in the Serious and Organised Crime team with West Yorkshire Police, I was actively involved in our police social group, helping to organise events and trips for what were quite often large groups. I have also travelled all over the world with a group of friends, watching the England football team, and for the most part, I was the primary organiser. I had eight years left with the police and so had decided to start exploring options for a career once out of the force. With my love of travel and experience helping to plan events and trips for my colleagues, a travel business was an attractive proposition.
“I did a lot of research, looking at all the travel businesses out there. I was attracted to a franchise as I didn’t want to start a business from scratch. With franchising, all of the systems and procedures are already in place. A franchise would also provide ABTA and ATOL accreditation. I was really impressed with The Travel Franchise; it offered something fresh and new and is very forward-thinking.”
Colman purchased his franchise in September 2013, but plans to launch his business were put on hold whilst his wife underwent treatment for cancer. He then started his Not Just Travel business, running it part-time whilst he continued working for West Yorkshire Police. Colman said: “My travel business took off really quickly; it was taking more and more of my time and ultimately I made the decision to retire four years earlier than planned to focus on it full time. I haven’t looked back!”
All new franchisees undergo extensive training at The Travel Franchise’s headquarters in Bournemouth, which provides them with the necessary information and skills to kick start their businesses. Ongoing support and guidance is provided by the team at head office, as well as experienced Travel Partners, who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping with the first few bookings and then mentoring franchisees to help them develop and grow their businesses.
Colman says: “I was invited by Paul and Steve to be a Travel Partner and it’s a role I really enjoy. We are the first line of support for franchisees and keep in regular contact with them, particularly in the early days.
“Life has changed beyond recognition since my days in the police. I have much more flexibility and control over my life; I can work from anywhere, sitting in the garden when it’s sunny or even abroad. I visited Australia for four weeks, but still managed to secure thousands of pounds of bookings whilst there. I certainly don’t miss the early starts and I’m not as tired as I used to be!
“I love being my own boss. My wife, Rachel, will be joining the business full time in the next few months and we’re looking forward to working together to grow our business further, as well as mentoring more new franchisees.
“With The Travel Franchise, I have been taken on familiarisation trips all over the world; I have been lucky enough to visit the USA a number of times, as well as Barbados, Barcelona for the Formula One testing, Thailand and Greece.
“There has been a lot of change in the travel industry, but it’s certainly a very buoyant sector and we are seeing people spending more and more on their holidays, moving away from package deals to multi-centre trips. I’m really happy with the financial returns I’m getting; I’m easily earning twice as much as I used to.”
Colman has the following advice for anyone thinking of becoming a franchisee: “Look at all the franchise options carefully, so you can make an informed choice. The Travel Franchise and Not Just Travel have come a long way; the brand is now well established and the support provided to franchisees is second to none. I would definitely recommend The Travel Franchise. I would do it all again, in fact, I wish I’d done it sooner.”