Tan is being sprayed, hair is being rolled and the red carpet is getting a quick once over with the vacuum. The National Travel Industry Awards are tomorrow night and the who’s who are getting ready. Let’s meet some of them.
We have TravelManagers’ Belinda Le Breton up for Best Mobile Travel Adviser. A finalist for Best Travel Consultant - Corporate is Veronica Panzic from Show Group Enterprise and Brighton Travel World’s Julie Avery is in the running to win Best Travel Agency Manager - Leisure Single Location. Find out how they’ve made it this far and get their top travel tips.
WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR CLIENTS THAT THE INTERNET CAN’T?
BELINDA: Be there! Does the internet give you a hug and pass a tissue when you are planning your first trip alone after 40 years of having travelled with your husband. Does it then reply to you while you are away when you’ve just sent photos that you just wanted to share?
VERONIKA: Develop Emotional Connections. There is such an importance of building strong emotional connections with your clients, especially in Corporate Travel. This will then keep the clientele coming back and also bring new business in.
JULIE: We sweat the small stuff which can make all the difference, and save clients so much time and stress. And importantly we ensure their money is in safe hands!
WHERE’S THE NEXT ‘HOT’ DESTINATION?
BELINDA: I think it was Malta but now Georgia seems to be the hot next destination. Why? A lot of people have done your typical and not so typical European Vacation and are now looking to go to places that offer a bit of everything and I think they see it as very trendy to go before their friends go...
VERONIKA: I work in corporate travel, so much of my business is booking the big cities. But I must say a lot of our clients are loving Far North Queensland on their downtime.
JULIE: Well hopefully Sri Lanka and Cuba (if things settle down) but Italy, Greece and Spain are always HOT HOT HOT. Close to home, I’d say Lord Howe and the Intercontinental Hayman Resort.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST TRAVEL TIP?
BELINDA: Don't let anyone tell you something is too hard. Or, "You're crazy to take four kids on an eight week European Winter vacation and not add Euro Disney in for them" Pftt! Euro Disney has nothing on arriving into Gare du Nord at 5pm Friday 23rd December to catch the Metro to your apartment! Haha it is a bonding experience for sure and everything and anything is possible.
VERONIKA: Responsible me would say, always take copies of your passports, bankcards, important documents just in case. And the carefree me would say, don’t be afraid to get purposefully lost, walking through a new city is a good way to get to know it and find those hidden gems.
JULIE: Go with the flow, soak up the local environment, people watch and don’t keep converting what you have spent back to the AUD$.
WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
BELINDA: Best part of the job is the industry we work in, the people I just love! It's a community. The worst is quoting and the changes of a quote even within 15 minutes. Airlines and a 48 hour payment or ADM for not ticketing in two days. Our clients want the right itinerary and I am sure that goes for all of us.
VERONIKA: Best part of my job is being involved in Music Tours and Festivals, knowing you have been a part of making a show happen in Australia is really quite special. There are no worst parts, I love my job!
Worst - The 24/7 client service when the phone rings at 2am.
Best – Managing an awesome team of the best of the best consultants.
IF YOU WEREN’T A TRAVEL AGENT, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
BELINDA: Teaching tourism. I did for five years and it was one of the most rewarding experiences. Seeing my students in the industry brings a lot of pride.
VERONIKA: I would be singing and performing on stage. My two passions in life are Travel & Music.
JULIE: I’d definitely be in hospitality – that is all I know – previously I’ve worked in functions and events and hotels.
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