Twelve consecutive months of record sales, reaching a milestone of 550 personal travel managers (PTMs) and launching individual PTM websites: these were just a few of the highlights from a year of success for TravelManagers in 2018.
“These achievements, and many more, come as a direct result of the experience, expertise and passion to deliver excellence for which our people are renowned,” explains Chief Operating Officer, Grant Campbell, who notes that the company’s PTMs have an average industry experience of more than 20 years, with more than half having chalked up at least five years with TravelManagers.
Recognising that investing in their people reaps great rewards both for the individuals and for the company, TravelManagers focused considerable attention on personal and professional development throughout 2018.
“Along with 9 dedicated airline product and fares days and six dedicated cruise training days this year, our BPMs have organised and attended a whopping 814 one-on-one meetings with PTMs and 479 cluster meeting in metropolitan suburbs and regional centres,” explains Campbell.
In addition to these face-to-face meetings, Campbell says 258 webinars were run by the National Partnership Office (NPO), providing updates on a range of topics, both internal and partner supplier-related.
“We also ran 26 specific corporate webinars that were supported by dedicated corporate classroom workshops in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and at the annual National Conference in Hawaii.
Professional development also included 248 opportunities for worldwide product and destination famils, with 132 PTMs taking part in fifteen famils that were exclusive to TravelManagers.
“As a group, our PTMs already possess an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to selling travel, but they are still strongly focused on further improvement,” Campbell says, “the benefits of which are two-fold: clients receive the best possible advice and PTMs are able to indulge their own passion for travel.”
As Australia’s premium travel network, Campbell says TravelManagers are constantly seeking ways to enhance the business, looking beyond the status quo to ensure that TravelManagers retains its place as the preferred travel company for its people and its clients. Accordingly, several new initiatives were announced at the company’s annual National Conference, which was held in Hawaii in August.
“The conference brought together more than 200 PTMs, so it was an ideal venue in which to announce our new partnership with Luxury Escapes as their sole home-based network and inaugural retail partner,” explains Campbell. “Our exclusive partner status means that we are the only retail travel network with direct access to Luxury Escapes’ prominently advertised and promoted holiday content – it’s a real coup for both our PTMs and our clients.”
Also announced at the conference, TravelManagers’ new Network Assistance Program (NAP) is an initiative aimed at supporting its members’ health and wellbeing.
“Our PTMs can choose their own work hours and location, so it’s important they still have the support and camaraderie they would enjoy in a traditional office environment,” Campbell explains. “The retail travel environment is not without its stresses and challenges, but NAP is designed to provide PTMs with access to expertise across a wide range of professional services, covering everything from anxiety and anger management to mediation and conflict resolution.”
Campbell says feedback from the conference regarding these two initiatives mirrored feedback on the conference overall, which was overwhelmingly positive.
“Our 2019 annual national conference has been confirmed for 9-11 August in Perth,” adds Campbell, noting that although the 2018 conference was a great success, the company will be looking to deliver something even better this year.
“We place great importance on bringing our people and our industry partners together on a regular basis, for both professional development and personal fulfilment,” Campbell explains, adding that many PTMs also allocate time for taking part in community-oriented activities such as charity auctions and fundraisers.
“As an example, 2018 marked our fourth annual Charity Golf Day on the Mornington Peninsula, attended by more than 100 PTMs, clients and partner suppliers who between them helped to raise more than $16,000 for the ‘Love Your Sister’ cancer charity.”
Campbell says the culture is paying dividends for the company, having scooped a variety of industry awards throughout the year.
“We started 2018 by being recognised as Scenic’s top performing national home-based agency network for the fourth year running, and concluded with PTM Jo Patton winning the 2018 Avis Scholarship of Excellence – the second consecutive year that a TravelManagers personal travel manager has won the award.”
However, not being content to rest on their laurels, Campbell says TravelManagers are looking to continue breaking records in 2019, and adds that they are off to a strong start.
“Our first full business week this year saw us welcoming six newly-signed PTMs for their induction training – a fantastic omen for the year ahead,” Campbell reports. “Despite the record-breaking achievements by many areas of our business in 2018, we have plenty more planned for 2019, and we are looking forward to seeing what successes this year will bring”.
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