Travel Counsellors

Customer Services Director for leading personal travel brand

Claire Hill appointed to evolve Customer Services function and allow business to scale with intimacy


Travel Counsellors is a disruptive and highly personalised platform business that connects a global community of travellers with expert, self-employed travel advisors (Travel Counsellors). These trusted travel advisors are passionate about the experiences they create for their leisure and corporate customers, building relationships and placing care at the heart of everything they do. They are supported across all areas of their businesses, with the blend of the best technology and talent that enables and empowers them to have limitless potential to grow and scale. The company is 27 years old and is led by CEO Steve Byrne.

During the pandemic, whilst obviously impacted, the strength of model and power of the community saw the company not only survive, but thrive as travel returned and the brand reputation was enhanced due to the high levels of customer care shown by its people throughout this time. The business also recognised the opportunity to improve and evolve its support model for the betterment of its  community and customers. As part of this journey, Travel Counsellors required a people focused individual who absolutely understood and aligned with company’s core values and had the skillset and passion to lead and improve the operational support model at scale. This was a key hire as the business expands to 1b turnover plus in the coming years. The new Customer Services Director was required to:

  • Play a key role in the digital transformation of the business, combining the best human and digital capabilities to drive outstanding customer experience and operational efficiency
  • Present operational strategy, delivery and plans for improvement with clarity and completeness to the board
  • Ensure the systems, team and processes in Operations are fit for purpose and can deliver and support the company’s strategy and ultimately deliver the very best experience for its community and customers


Rowan’s Head of HR and Ops Louise Ellis, and Executive Researcher Gemma Mafe worked with Steve and HR Director Karen McCormick (and later new Chief People Officer Victoria Wilson), to understand the professional competencies, as well as behavioural requirement and cultural fit of the incoming Customer Services Director.

As experts in Executive Search, Rowan:

  • Developed a strong understanding of the challenge involved in re-engineering a Customer Services function that could be scaled with intimacy.
  • Identified candidates with relevant experience, who were customer-oriented, people-focused leaders
  • Tested candidates’ character fit and potential cultural fit to TC, using Rowan’s best-in-class search and assessment methodology.

Through Rowan’s search and selection process, a shortlist of qualified candidates was submitted, and Claire Hill was successfully appointed. Claire had held senior Customer Service positions within several e-commerce businesses, such as and Studio Retail, where she had re-platformed digital channels and implemented CX strategies successfully.


When asked about Rowan, CEO Steve Byrne said:

It was a pleasure dealing with Louise and Gemma. In a challenging market, they delivered a strong list of candidates for the role and we are delighted with Claire’s appointment and her joining the business.