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Why travel agents will shine in 2024

Industry leader unveils roadmap for the future

Three little words are set to determine the future of one of Australia’s leading retail travel groups.

Create, Protect and Return.

Those were the key words delivered by Christian Hunter, Managing Director of Travellers Choice, at their 2023 conference on the Gold Coast, which this year had the theme “Shine”.

“Those simple words play a defining role in our organisation’s purpose, the very reason for its existence, and that is ‘to sustainably Create, Protect and Return value to members,” he told the audience of more than 200 delegates.

Christian Hunter, MD Travellers Choice

Mr Hunter said that in a dynamic industry such as travel, it was important the company create value by constantly evolving and staying ahead of the curve.

“Whilst travel has experienced a significant turnaround in the last 12 months, that growth has not been shared equally. Across the network today we have member businesses in various stages of recovery.”

Mr Hunter said it was because of this they had introduced a three-tiered membership structure to meet the different and evolving need of its members. He also revealed that the company would be bolstering its BDM, marketing, administration and events teams to better serve members’ needs.

“It is an exciting time as we shape our future.”

Part of that future is attracting new members and, in that regard, Mr Hunter admitted that the company had probably “flown a little under the radar”.

“You could almost go as far as saying that we have been the travel industry’s best-kept secret.

“But that needed to change and I genuinely feel that we are doing travel agents around Australia a major disservice by not shouting as loudly as possible about how amazing it can truly be under a group arrangement that genuinely cares and is focussed purely on you.”

He added that the appointment of a national Network Development Manager and initiatives such as the ‘Choose Day’ campaign in August would ensure TC was better known across the travel agent community.

“We know how positive a move to our network can be. We hear it time and time again and I can guarantee you that we will be hearing it more and more in the months ahead.”

Mr Hunter added that the recent announcement of a $2 million pre-tax operating profit – the majority of which was returned directly to member shareholders – was an “absolute highlight”.

“When it comes to returning value, be that financial value through commercial arrangements, or emotional value through being part of something truly special, as shown from the NPS results, Travellers Choice does it like no other.”

Looking at the immediate future for the travel industry Mr Hunter said confidence was high that 2024 would be another good year for the group.

“Corporates are mobilised, consumer confidence appears strong and revenge travel is alive and well!"

There are some dark clouds on the horizon with inflationary pressures and airline capacity both affecting consumer confidence. 

"Hopefully we will see some positive traction with a more proactive approach and potentially more open skies agreements driving competition, because the current situation is already becoming untenable for consumers.

“The challenges of the last few years have definitely tested our resolve, but we have weathered the storm, learnt lots along the way and as much as I hate to say it, I actually think we are better at what we do for the experience.

“It is time for Travellers Choice to shine.”


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Written by: Jon Underwood
Published: 10 November 2023

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