Travel DAZE 2018 has been and gone, but our minds are still being blown by how incredible our speakers were!
One of those speakers was Barry Mayo, the chairman of TravelManagers Australia. He’s had over 50 years experience in the travel and aviation industries and has experience in markets like Asia and the UK. Talk about accomplished.
At Travel DAZE, Mayo’s talk centred around the evolution of home-based travel consulting – something he’s fairly familiar with, to say the least.
“The internet enabled TravelManagers to create a business model that focused on live, one-on-one communication and human interaction to effectively compete and prosper in a business environment that has seen traditional costs challenged, and previous consumer expectations and behaviour change,” he began.
Travel managers now have an Australia-wide network of nearly 550 home based Travel Managers – and they’re still growing.
“Home-based travel consulting has been the fastest growing segment of travel, not just in Australia, but in other mature travel markets such as the united states, Canada and the UK over the last 10 years,” Mayo said.
Although home-based travel consultants and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) both rely heavily on the internet to retain growth, TravelManagers are more focused on premium customer service than low price points.
Their customers are high-end and think of their travel consultant as they would a financial advisor.
“Travel Manager’s business model has been designed as a specialist operation for travel professionals who want to eliminate their daily commute, enjoy a better balance between business and personal life, and have greater control over their income. Every Personal Travel Manager is viewed by TravelManagers as a business partner,” Mayo said.
“We recognise and respect everyone’s individual right to determine what business lifestyle balance is best for them and their family.
“Not everyone wants to make the same level of commitment, nor seek the same financial outcomes. And Travel Managers business model allows for this.”
Mayo said that all this is made possible because of technological advancements that enable accounts booking and itinerary development. Home-based consultants are fully operational, 24/7, anywhere in the world.
For example, many travel managers work in remote locations and use an online travel forum to connect with their peers
“This allows our Travel Managers to tap into the wealth of knowledge and the experience that exists within the network,” Mayo explained.
And although TravelManagers relies on the internet, Mayo said he doesn’t view tech developments as a threat.
“I don’t view the introduction of new developments such as big data, artificial intelligence and mobile virtual system apps, as threats.
“Like the OTA’s, we are focused on turning technological advancements to our own advantage. This will enhance what we already do, and improve our personal travel managers efficiency and productivity,” he said.
Mayo also said the key point of difference for TravelManagers was the way they interact with their clients.
“The key difference between technology interfaces and personal travel manager client interactions is relationships. They are personal and include a high level of trust and access,” he said.
“In a world where consumers are seeking more meaningful connections to their travel experiences, why wouldn’t they want the same from their travel planning process?”