Wednesday, 18 September 2013

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Lisa Eastwood

ORIGINALLY from Hertfordshire, Lisa Eastwood spent many years living in London before moving to Uplyme, near Lyme Regis. She said she had always loved this part of the world and, after spending her honeymoon in Lyme Regis with husband Mark in 2012, they decided to make the move. Lisa now lives with Mark, her daughter Ella, 10, and stepsons Tom, 10, and Hugo, 7. She has recently joined Travel Counsellors, running her own business from home offering travel advice and holiday bookings. 

TELL us a bit about Travel Counsellors and the services they offer...
Travel Counsellors is one of the world’s leading independent travel companies and there are now more than 1,200 personal Travel Counsellors who, like me, work from home and run their own businesses.  Putting the customer at the very centre of everything is one of the key principals the company was founded on. I am there to ensure my customer gets the holiday that meets their needs but exceeds their expectations. I save them time, stress and, more often than not, money. I truly believe you can’t get that from the internet or on the High Street. We also offer the best financial protection in the industry as standard for every customer. Any destination and any budget, cruises, honeymoons, golf trips, safari or even trips for special occasions - I can help.

WHY did you decide to become a Travel Counsellor?
Travel has always been a passion of mine and, having moved down to the South West, I was keen to work for myself. I knew of Travel Counsellors and had always been extremely impressed with the company ethos of going above and beyond for customers.  This struck a chord with me as giving personalised levels of service was something that I’ve believed in throughout my 20 year career in travel.  It is something that is core to the company, in fact Travel Counsellors’ slogan is “With us, it’s personal”. They have a fantastic reputation, so I was keen to be a part of such a prestigious company.

HAVE you had a good response so far?
I have had a great response and most of my customers have come from referrals which I see as a real compliment. My customer satisfaction rating is currently 100 per cent and I’ll continue to deliver the same level of service, so this is something that won’t change. Many people locally may not be aware of Travel Counsellors due to the very fact that we don’t advertise.  I rely solely on word of mouth and referrals so I am keen to grow awareness of the service I offer. Head office does all my admin for me, so I can spend my time visiting my customers in their own homes, meeting for coffee, chatting over Skype, on email or over the phone.  That way I can get to know what people want and understand their requirements so I can recommend the perfect holiday for them.  I’m available outside of normal office hours at a time to suit my customers.  While they are away I’m also on hand to help, and they all have my mobile number so can contact me easily.  You’ll never have to ring a call centre or deal with anyone else - my service really is personal. 

WHAT did you do before this?
I was head of travel sales for a car rental company and the role gave me plenty of opportunity to travel overseas. I was originally trained at Trailfinders and have worked for other specialist travel companies too.

WHERE is your favourite place you have travelled to?
It is really hard to choose as I have had so many amazing experiences - see my website -  but among my favourites are Brazil, New York, South Africa, Morocco and Sri Lanka - all for very different reasons.

WHERE is your dream holiday destination you have not yet visited?
Croatia was top of my list and I have just returned from two weeks exploring the islands and am currently writing a travel journal on the trip for my webpage. Next on my list is to see The Northern Lights and to visit India.

WHAT are your personal interests?
Travel, food and wine and spending time with family and friends. I try to combine as many of them as often as possible! My daughter and I are also keen to join the local gig club and get out onto the water.

WHAT do you like about the local area?
The people hands down! We moved here for the sea, countryside and a different way of life. We got all that but we have also made lots of new friends. Just walking the dog every day I speak to more people than I ever did in London – everyone is so friendly.

WHAT would you add to or change about the area if you could?
That’s a tricky question as we love living here and we have everything we could possibly need.  The only thing I could say would be that I do wish there was an M&S a little closer than Dorchester.  Having said that, I’m already getting used to shopping online and as it saves me time overall, you could actually see this as another bonus of living here! 

WHAT would you do if you won the Lottery?
Definitely buy a boat and extend the house but we wouldn’t move. I would continue running my business as I enjoy helping people by taking the stress out of finding their perfect holiday.  Winning the Lottery would afford me more time to spend supporting local charities and the community which would be fantastic.  And of course take lots of holidays to show the children all the amazing places both Mark and I have been lucky enough to see.

WHAT three items would you like on a deserted island?
A photo album of my family, a wind up radio and a book on the entire history of the world as I always regretted not taking it as a subject at school.


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