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Personal Travel Managers Diversify into Winemaking at Annual Conference

Sunday 11 August 2019 – The historic Sandalford Estate in Perth’s picturesque Swan Valley provided a serene, vineyard setting in which to conclude the second day of TravelManagers’ annual National Conference on Saturday night, after two busy but rewarding days of presentations and workshops.

Sunday 11 August 2019 – The historic Sandalford Estate in Perth’s picturesque Swan Valley provided a serene, vineyard setting in which to conclude the second day of TravelManagers’ annual National Conference on Saturday night, after two busy but rewarding days of presentations and workshops.

The conference, which is TravelManagers’ twelfth, commenced on Friday morning with a welcome from Western Australia Tourism’s Chairman Nathan Harding, followed by a keynote presentation from Amanda Stevens, who Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, describes as a renowned thought leader on the customer experience.

“Amanda has extensive experience in consumer psychology and a mesmerising story-telling style,” says Gazal. “Her subject matter, which was turning customers into advocates, ties in neatly with TravelManagers’ focus on putting customers at the heart of everything – she really set the tone for the rest of the conference.”

Following on from Stevens’ address, conference attendees listened to presentations from partner suppliers including Amadeus, NCL and WLCL, as well as from selected personal travel managers (PTMs) who shared their ‘Secrets of Success’.

A big part of TravelManagers’ annual National Conference is PTMs catching up with friends and colleagues from all over Australia: Nicole Edgar (left) and Tanya Patterson (right) with NPO Marketing Manager, Tania Myles (centre).

“The PTM presentations have become a highlight of the conference for many attendees,” Gazal notes, “and this year was no different. They reflect an integral aspect of TravelManagers’ culture, which is the sharing of ideas, experience and knowledge based on a recognition that each individual has something to contribute and something to learn.”

The final presentation for the day came from the head of Qantas’ Boeing 787 programme, Peter O’Donohue, who has spent much of his 40-year career with the airline focused on ensuring the quality of the onboard experience for Qantas customers.

“Peter’s most recent focus has been on ‘Project Sunrise’ – the airline’s plan to operate non-stop flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York. It was very informative to hear his thoughts on the future of air travel as it relates to the customer,” says Gazal.

Day one of conference concluded with a welcome cocktail party at Perth’s riverside hotspot, Embargo on the Point.

Day one concluded with an opening night cocktail function at Embargo on the Point with the stunning setting on Perth’s iconic Swan River providing a great location in which to unwind from what Gazal described as “a very full but very rewarding day.”

The second day of the conference began with a workshop run by Amanda Stevens, in which participants heard about practical ways to build customer advocacy, based on learnings from a selection of high performing PTMs. Supplier partners also had the opportunity to connect with PTMs during a 2.5-hour trade show, while the afternoon sessions consisted of further workshops.

Conference attendees donated books and art supplies for chosen charity, Ronald McDonald House. TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal (right) with Ronald McDonald House representative, is pictured with some of the resulting swag.

“PTMs were able to choose from a wide variety of subject matters that tied in with the overall conference theme,” Gazal notes, “ranging from the future of the cruise customer to tips on writing effective blogs.”

At the end of the day, it was time to take a break from serious business and head out of the city for a mystery team building activity, which has become a firm favourite on the conference itinerary. Previous years have seen teams competing in an ‘Amazing Race’-style event around the streets of Honolulu and working with at-risk communities in Thailand.

“Given that Perth has the amazing Swan Valley wine region right on its doorstep, a team-based wine blending competition was an inspired choice,” according to Melisa Randazzo, who is with  TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office, and a member of the winning team as judged by Sandalford Estate’s sommelier.

“I don’t think any of us will be branching out into wine-making full-time, but it was a fun chance to enjoy each other’s company in a stunning location and reset before the final day of conference,” she concludes.

About TravelManagers

TravelManagers is Australia’s market leader and biggest home-based travel business operating in all States & Territories. A wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $2 billion for 2019, TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel. TravelManagers is solely dedicated to providing the best possible support to its network of more than 570 personal travel managers throughout Australia, through a dedicated team at the company’s National Partnership Office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer funds in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases. This is supported by a Trust Account Fidelity Risk insurance policy to protect all clients’ funds in the unlikely event they are missing from, or not paid into the Insured Trust Account.

For further information please contact:

Barry Mayo

Telephone: 0419 404 873

Email: bmayo@houseoftravel.com.au

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