TravelManagers has brought together personal travel managers (PTMs) from all over Australia, along with supplier partners and the PTM support team from the company’s National Partnership Office (NPO) to participate in their 10th annual National Conference, which began in Darwin on Thursday and will run for three days.
The event began with a welcome from Ali Mills, a Larrakia Nation Elder, and Tourism NT’s Andrew Hopper, before the conference was officially opened by TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, and House of Travel Australia’s CEO, Joe Araullo.
This year’s conference theme is ONE: a theme that Gazal says can be applied to the TravelManagers’ brand and people in a number of different ways: “One personal travel manager’s own business is part of one premium travel network. Each individual business has one aim: to successfully combine a love of travel with a positive work/life balance to create the perfect business.”
Conference delegates also heard the first two of a series of presentations made by PTMs, the theme of which is “Secrets of my Success”. Corinne Mutz, representative for Upper Sturt, SA, and Sarena Taylor, representative for Robina, QLD, will be joined later in the conference by six other PTMs, all of whom have valuable business insights to share with their colleagues.
Mutz, who has worked in the travel industry for close to 30 years, has a strong focus on building strong, rewarding relationships with both clients and suppliers, and says being with TravelManagers has allowed her to offer her clients the sort of travel booking experience that everyone deserves.
“We are years ahead of the competition, who can only strive to emulate the systems, support and expertise offered by the TravelManagers model.”
The keynote speaker for day one was Australia’s most decorated serving soldier, Benjamin Roberts-Smith VC MG.
According to Gazal, Roberts-Smith’s presentation was extremely well-received by conference attendees, and he believes it will prove to be one of the major highlights of this year’s event.
“Our PTMs are leaders in their own right and have, like Ben, experienced moments where they have needed to take risks and step up in order to achieve personal and professional success. Ben’s journey as a soldier has included times when he has needed to apply the same “do or die” approach, and we were all inspired by his incredible story.”
The day concluded with a welcome function at Darwin’s Mindil Beach Sunset Market, which Gazal described as a welcome opportunity for PTMs, suppliers and NPO personnel to get together in a relaxed setting.
“Our people work hard all year,” Gazal explains, “and whilst they mostly work independently within their own businesses, they also appreciate the importance of building strong relationships with their colleagues. One of the reasons that we always have such strong attendance at our annual national conference is that it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with people that in many cases they haven’t seen since the previous year’s conference.”
Gazal acknowledges that this year’s conference is off to a strong start, but notes that there is still much to come. Day Two of the conference will consist of a series of workshops and presentations from both PTMs and suppliers, and will wrap with a “One” themed party at Pee Wee’s at the Point, while Day Three will involve the much-anticipated Community Event in the morning and a keynote presentation from Shark Tank’s Red Shark, Naomi Simson.
The final day will conclude with a Gala Awards Dinner, which will recognise and reward excellence throughout the company and form the perfect conclusion to a big weekend.
“Darwin is proving to have been an inspired choice of location,” says Gazal. “It’s stunning location that’s steeped in culture and history, coupled with state-of-the-art conference facilities.”
He adds that the company have received tremendous support from both Northern Territory Tourism and their partner suppliers, especially their Platinum sponsors: Amadeus, Allianz, Royal Caribbean International, APT Group, Qantas Airways and Qantas Holidays.
“It would be impossible to run an event like this, as successfully as this, without the support of our industry partners,” he explains. “Our strong relationships with these partners is just one more reflection of the overall ONE theme.”
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