Posted on January 6, 2020 by staff

Manchester based travel platform appoints COO


Mark O’Donoghue, former CEO of digital learning solutions provider AVADO Learning, has been appointed COO of travel platform Travel Counsellors.

Bringing two decades of experience in digital platform businesses, O’Donoghue will focus on business owners, having increased sales fourfold over a five-year period in his previous company.

His appointment comes as Travel Counsellors celebrates its 25th year of operation and more than 17 consecutive years of double-digit growth.

In the period beginning November 2018 – 2019, the company saw a record high of £650m in sales and acquired over 300 new business owners to use its technology platform to grow their corporate and leisure travel businesses.

Founded in Manchester in 1994, Travel Counsellors operates a franchise business model with over 1,900 self-employed travel professionals working from home or shared offices in seven countries across the globe.

This community of business owners use the platform to provide personalised leisure and corporate travel and booking experiences to 600,000 customers a year.

In 2019 the company invested nearly £7m in technology enhancements, including the continuous development of ‘my TC’, the company’s app which supports Travel Counsellors’ business owners.

The firm said its investment in technology has enhances its in-house booking platform, Phenix, with further development directed towards a ‘TC recommendation engine’, enabling the company’s Travel Counsellors to search travel suppliers to create itineraries tuned to their customers preferences.

Steve Byrne, CEO at Travel Counsellors said the new appointment would help the firm’s growth and success.

“Mark’s previous experience in leading the growth of digital learning and technology-focussed businesses, and passion for empowering talented people with the latest innovations in technology, offers the perfect blend as we continue to support travel professionals to re-define what personal service means in the travel industry, by showing the greatest levels of care to their customers every day,” he said.

The new appointment also follows Travel Counsellors secondary management buyout from private equity company Vitruvian Partners, in 2018.

O’Donoghue added: “Travel Counsellors has developed a highly innovative and successful business model, built on the company’s passion for putting people first. The potential for adding to the brilliant human engagement that lies at the heart of the Travel Counsellors model with a wider set of digital platform functions, is incredibly exciting.

“I’m looking forward to working with the driven, ambitious support and tech teams to enable our Travel Counsellor business owners to be the very best they can be, through the continued development and improvement of the company’s technology platform, including the application of data science and enhanced customer insights to further support the growth of their businesses.”