Zonia Anderson-Bell has seen huge changes in InteleTravel since becoming an agent in 2017 as the organisation has grown to become a major player in the UK.
Zonia (pronounced Zona) is based in Birmingham and was among the first home-workers in the UK to join the organisation.
“I’ve loved it from the start, when I began booking holidays for friends and family, and then taking my first cruise,” she said. “There has been a lot of change and the growth has been incredible.
“We have had so many suppliers come on board to work with us and the training we receive is phenomenal. I’m doing something or learning something every night!”
Like many InteleTravel agents, Zonia enjoys the combination of selling holidays with another career. She works for the local council as an income service management officer, helping tenants who fall into rent arrears, but her true love is travel.
“During the day I work for the council and during the evenings and weekends I’ll be working on my travel business. The beauty of it is that I can do it when it suits me, in my spare time.”
Before becoming an agent, Zonia’s travel was limited to family trips to the Caribbean. Now she regularly cruises and has been to many other countries. However, when she is away, she makes sure that she works as well as plays.
“We are often lucky to get a discounted holiday and we have a great time, but it’s also important to make the experience benefit my business,” she says.
“I’ll do tours that I can tell my clients about, film the hotels and do a ‘facebook live’ event as they all help to show what a destination has to offer.”
A bubbly extrovert, friends and family naturally flock to Zonia to book their holidays and she also taps into her local network and business groups.
“I do book holidays for friends and family but I also have a big network through the choir, church, school and council. I’m also part of a network of local black businesses and it all helps to increase your number of contacts.”
Zonia also has a Facebook page which attracts enquiries from strangers.
“I try to be friendly and approachable, and I never take a hardline approach over selling holidays. I’m there to offer advice and book holidays for people if they want them.”
Zonia believes that being part of InteleTravel can help people develop their inter-personal skills after seeing a relative become far more confident after joining the group.
“People don’t realise that being a home-based travel agent can transform you as a person and give you a lot more confidence because you meet so many other agents. I saw that happen to a relative of mine, she really came out of her shell because InteleTravel is like a family and everyone is so friendly and helps each other.”
Zonia is keen to expand her travel business and also has another ambition – she would love to be an InteleTravel ambassador in the future.
“I’ve seen the work they do and it looks very exciting. It’s perhaps something for the future and at the moment I just love travel. People are itching to get away and there’s so much choice on offer from InteleTravel agents.”