Interviews

Founders Diaries: Introducing Travel Counsellors MD Steve Byrne

3 min read

01 November 2016

A desire to have Travel Counsellors famous for its customer service is driving Steve Byrne on, as he'll be revealing in his entries for Founders Diaries.

While my background has been in the finance sector, my passion has always been travel. I’ve been managing director at Travel Counsellors since 2004, and in that time have seen the company evolve into the enterprise it is today.

In 2014, I led a management buy-out backed by Equistone Partners Europe, enabling the company to expand from a UK-centric travel company to an international business. We now operate across seven countries, including Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, South Africa and UAE.

Operating on a global scale is difficult for any business. For me, the culture of Travel Counsellors is all important, and developing and nurturing this as the company expands is a key priority. We want to be famous for our customer service, utilising the latest technology to enhance the experience, maintaining the ethos of a small family business but with the tools and gravitas of a larger operation.

Caring is central to this culture, and applies as much to our team as our customers. We now have in excess of 1,500 Travel Counsellors and 300 support staff, and while this has all the benefits provided by a global network, it also makes internal communications incredibly important to ensure each member understands what is happening in the business, and that everyone has a voice.

We believe that technology is the single most important tangible aspect of the business model. Through our 50-strong IT development team, we have created our own technology, aiding communication not just with our customers but with each other, helping to generate new ideas and drive innovations to provide a superior service.

Over the coming months, I’ll be providing an insight into the challenges that we face and the steps we take to overcome these in order to achieve our growth objectives. This will cover topics including innovation, talent, technology and culture, as well as key events each month.

This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.