Travel Agents

Diversity, technology and the three-year picture: Three things we’ve learnt about Travel Counsellors

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Travel Weekly had the pleasure of attending Travel Counsellors’ annual agent and supplier conference, TCX. Here are three things we learnt while we were there.

Diversity is front-and-centre

Awesome, yes gif

Sitting down ahead of the TCX conference in Adelaide last week, which coincided with Travel Counsellors’ 25th anniversary, regional managing director Kaylene Shuttlewood told reporters that diversity is extremely important to her and the company.

“One of the big things that I’m quite passionate about … is diversity in the workplace,” she said. “Diversity is not just gender, its race, religion, sexual orientation.”

She also filled us in on the company’s other initiatives, namely its support of ethical and sustainable travel provided by accredited wholesalers, underpinned by a “rigorous” product selection process.

“The products that we are selling all have sustainable policies. We don’t promote, we don’t highlight [unsustainable experiences].”

CEO Steve Byrne also revealed that the company spends $60,000 a year with the Travel Foundation, a global charity supporting responsible tourism, which is responsible for educating Travel Counsellors’ staff on sustainable tourism.

He added that this highlighted the positive difference that Travel Counsellors wants to make to its staff and customers.

He also said that this sustainable ideology fed into the way that Travel Counsellors hires its staff.

“It’s not about how many people [we hire] but the type of person that comes in that has the ability to support corporate travel or leisure complex sales,” he said.

“We want travel entrepreneurs and business owners – not those that see themselves as travel agents,” he said.

The company is making a huge and continued investment in technology

yay-gif

One of the key takeaways from TCX in keynotes from both CEO Steve Byrne and Australian operations manager Tom Temple was the company’s continued focus on technology – namely, its investment in its online booking platform powered by Phenix, the company’s own dynamic packaging system.

“Technology underpins all areas of investment,” Byrne said, adding: “Each of [Travel Counsellors’] investment areas is underpinned by the platform.”

He added that because of the company’s focus on making Phenix as dynamic and accessible as possible, travel counsellors (TCs) have a great deal of flexibility for their work arrangements.

“[TCs] can work from wherever they want, they can work from any state in this country; they can work from a Starbucks or an office.

“They run their business based on the platform.”

Temple went one further and said Phenix would continue to go from speed to speed in the future as a result of an $11 million investment in technology each year, and a dedicated tech support team based in the company’s Melbourne Head Office.

“Phenix is always changing, its always getting better,” Temple said.

The Three-year picture: What to expect from Travel Counsellors going forward

On top of its investments in technology, CEO Steve Byrne said the company will aim to create more opportunities for leisure, corporate and premium travel over the next three years with greater investments in these opportunities.

As it stands, 25 per cent of TCs working today specialise in corporate travel and another 25 per cent in leisure. On top of its 16 per cent year-on-year growth, the company aims to grow the opportunities available for these types of travel options in the coming years.

“We’ll have a richer mix of leisure and corporate business … more complex and higher booking value, more premium,” he said, adding that this type of business will be protected from changes in technology.

Agents will also have more choice as to how they want to work and how they want to run their businesses, with further opportunities to work alongside other TCs to grow businesses and to fill in capacity wherever possible.

“The way that we support [TCs] has not really changed in ten years, but we can radically improve how we improve the support to [TCs] by investing in technology.”

Alright, alright alright



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Comments are closed.

News

Industry movements: New hires at Intrepid, TravelManagers, Silversea and more

Keep tabs on all the latest movements in the industry, find who you need to shmooze at the next networking event and suss out all the latest gossip right here.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Coral Princess brings cruising back to Newcastle

Cruising has returned to Newy, marking more opportunities for the locals to hang out by the water and wear thongs.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Soneva introduces cryptocurrency payments at its resorts

This new update could mean that other travel companies may soon accept crypto, and then someone may finally buy our Travel Weekly NFT!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Paul Hogan gets top Tourism Australia honour

Hogan was reportedly quite happy with the award, but quietly disappointed that it wasn’t a knife which he could compare with his larger knife.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Missed the Visit USA Expos? Fear not, we’ve got your biggest questions covered.

by sponsored by Visit USA Australia

No more FOMO! These hot tips will get you in top-tip shape to visit the USA.

Share

CommentComments

News

Jucy to expand rental car fleet with $40m worth of new inventory

Jucy is a vehicle rental operator, not the company that makes those pink velour track pants, in case you were also a bit confused.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas group engineers vote to strike

More than 700 Qantas, Jetstar and Network Aviation’s maintenance engineers are in favour of industrial action over pay negotiations.

Share

CommentComments

Events

NTIA 2022 tickets are on sale!

Industry events are a great opportunity to do some networking, reconnect with friends, and wake up the next day with a crippling hangover and anxiety about what you might have said to your boss.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Virtuoso announces its first tech summit

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly will be attempting our first mountain summit. Though it’s not really a mountain, but a hill near our office we try and avoid if possible.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie representatives made their mark at Australia Marketplace North America

Its rumoured that some of the reps spent the whole time warning Americans about drop bears and telling people how to ride a kangaroo.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Tourists stranded as Europe’s rivers continue to drop

Water levels across Europe’s rivers continue to plague cruise operators with reports of marooned boats on the Doubs River.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Midweek Interview

Midweek catch-up with Italian hotelier Gaia Quartucci

This week, we sat down with Gaia Quartucci, global sales and marketing director for part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world group.

Share

CommentComments