Thursday 29 October 2020 – To use cricketing parlance, the travel industry has been knocked for six by COVID in 2020. With international travel well and truly stumped for the immediate future, TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office (NPO) has recognised the importance of preserving a sense of team spirit within the company, organising regular gatherings (virtually and in person) to ensure the wellbeing of its 560-plus personal travel managers (PTMs) and NPO support team.
Last week it was the turn of the NPO team to take the field, figuratively and literally, with a picnic and sports day at Sydney’s Centennial Park. The Ash Paddock picnic site was chosen as the setting for a day out during which an informal cricket match was the main highlight (despite some suggestions that the players demonstrated far greater enthusiasm than expertise).
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, was among those who took their turn at the crease. He says the maximum of 20 participants under COVID restrictions meant they had to take an informal approach to teams but points out that some players had clearly brought along their ‘A’ game nonetheless.
“Our Marketing Manager, Tania Myles took a great catch, and our National Partnership Manager Suzanne Laister demonstrated a good eye for the ball,” he elaborates.
Play got underway at 10 am with a barbecue breakfast, followed by cricket and quoits. A picnic lunch was the players’ reward for their physical exertions, thanks to the efforts of NPO’s resident social organiser extraordinaire and Partnership Events Executive, Helen Georganas.
With many of the NPO team working remotely as much as possible, Gazal says the fun day out was a welcome opportunity for attendees to reconnect with their work-family in the real world.
“We have Zoom coffee catch-ups and Friday afternoon drinks, various virtual gatherings and weekly management briefings, but it was noticeable just how happy people were to be with each other in person.”
“Nothing beats great company, being outdoors with a bit of sun, sports and a few snags on the barbie,” adds Melissa Randazzo, who is TravelManagers’ Tramada Support Specialist. “It felt great to hit pause for a bit and enjoy the simple, most worthwhile things in life.”
NSW Business Partnership Manager Julia McLean, who lives on the NSW Central Coast agrees. She spends a large portion of her work week on the road, catching up with and checking in on her PTMs: until the picnic she had not seen her NPO colleagues face to face since March.
“Under normal circumstances, I am in our National Partnership Office once a fortnight, so it was fabulous to be able to get together in the sunshine, play some cricket, have some laughs and reconnect with everyone. Whilst Zoom is fabulous, nothing beats being able to connect face to face.”
TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 560 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money 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.
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