Still at the tourism faculty, Ana Virgínia Falcão tried, but was not selected for an internship at the Top Mundo Turismo agency, in João Pessoa (PB), in 2005. After a year, she was called for the same vacancy, left soon after to do an internship in the public sector and returned in 2007 to be hired as a tourism agent. Now she is the company’s CEO — which changed its name to Clube Turismo — and formatted the franchise model in 2008. Today, the chain has 566 units and earned R$ 79.4 million last year.
The then Top Mundo Turismo was a small agency, run by two partners: George Lima, 71, and his son Uirá Lima, 42. Therefore, when Ana Virgínia and the two partners decided to format the model for franchising, the structure was very lean.
“This made me centralize a series of operational and strategic routines, such as business planning, service and selection of franchise candidates, training of new franchisees, customer service, etc. The expansion took place very quickly and we gradually expanded the team, delegating tasks and improving our structure,” said Ana Virgínia, 38, who, in addition to being the chain’s CEO, owns a franchise in João Pessoa.
To make the transition from a travel agency to a franchise network, the investment was R$ 120 thousand. In 2021, the company earned BRL 79.4 million. The profit was not disclosed.
Had experience in the public sector
At the age of 22 and in the third period of the tourism faculty, Ana Virgínia tried her first internship at Top Mundo Turismo. She did not pass and went to intern at a competing agency, where she stayed for eight months.
Then he worked in a hotel in João Pessoa. “The experience, although short, was enough to get to know the operation of the hotel industry in a sector that is considered the heart of a hotel, the reception. What I learned there contributed a lot to my work in travel agency”, he declared.
It was at this time that he received an invitation to intern at Top Mundo Turismo. She worked there for six months and decided to leave to embrace an internship opportunity (unpaid) at the municipality’s Tourism Department.
As a student, I tried to get to know different sectors of tourism to safely define the one that most attracted me. The experience in the public sector was valid to show that the private sector was really what I was looking for.
Ana Virgínia Falcão, CEO of Clube Turismo
Ana Virgínia soon received another proposal from Top Mundo Turismo to return, but this time as a travel agent with a formal contract. In 2008, she and her partners began formatting the franchise model. They changed the name of the company to Clube Turismo, and Ana Virgínia became CEO.
In 2015, she and her husband, Caetano Falcão, 41, bought a franchise from the chain. “By being a partner in a franchise, I can see the franchisee’s eyes and feel what the new challenges in the market are,” she said. Franchise revenue and earnings were not disclosed.
Network has 4 franchise models
Clube Turismo has four business models: home office (for individuals), prime home office (for legal entities), store and master (responsible for expanding the franchise in its state; available only to franchisees who already have a store). The initial investment ranges from R$6,900 to R$80,000.
The network sells all travel agency services (air tickets, packages, cruises and visa advice, among others). There are some services of their own, such as Clube dos Noivos (quota packages for guests to gift the bride and groom with the honeymoon trip) and Credviagem (a program in which the client makes monthly contributions for future trips).
Beware of franchise network growth
Aline Delmanto, state tourism manager at Sebrae-SP, says that an entrepreneurial attitude is having a vision of future business possibilities.
“Entrepreneurship is not only related to whether or not to open a business. It is also about undertaking within the company itself, when you perceive an opportunity. And that’s what Ana Virgínia did”, he said.
According to Aline, Clube Turismo has grown and has always had a very close relationship with its franchisees, even during the pandemic. The consultant says, however, that the size of the network can be a point of attention.
“You need to plan your expansion project very well so you don’t lose control, always guaranteeing good service, security and support for the franchisee to manage the business well and the quality of service. For this, the franchisor’s administrative structure has to grow in the same proportion. After all, the franchisor’s client is the franchisee”, he explained.
Where to find:
Tourism Club – www.franquiaclubeturismo.com.br/