Travel Agents

Flavour of the Week

It’s like a game of musical chairs with all of the industry’s movers and shakers. Read it here without any chairs or the Chicken Dance.

Air New Zealand appoints new Americas manager

Liz Fraser photo May 2017 (small file size)

Air New Zealand has appointed Liz Fraser to the position of Regional General Manager Americas, based in Los Angeles.

Liz Fraser is the current Air New Zealand GM Global Sales Operations & Planning based in Auckland and has previously worked in a variety of sales roles in the New Zealand media industry.

Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says he’s delighted to have someone with Ms Fraser’s experience join the team in America. 

“This role has responsibility for our teams in South America, Canada and USA which are key areas of focus for our business as we seek to grow our western markets,” Mr Wallace said. 

Liz Fraser will move to Los Angeles with her husband Bruce and daughter Jessie in the coming months.

CLIA Appoints New Operations Manager


Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has announced the appointment of Melissa Juelich as their Membership Operations Manager.

With almost 15 years’ experience in the travel industry, Juelich will be responsible for membership administration, and will also support membership engagement activities.

Juelich joins the organisation after a short stint at Helloworld, however she is no stranger to CLIA, as she worked for the organisation last year in a temporary capacity. Juelich has previously held positions at Emirates, South Africa Tourism, AFTA and United Travel New Zealand.  

Juelich replaces Amanda Rixon who left CLIA Australasia earlier this month after 5 years of service.

CWT appoints Michael Ryan as Managing Director for ANZ

Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the global travel management company, has appointed Michael Ryan as Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand. Ryan will lead a team of nearly 280 people across six locations in Australia and New Zealand, and will be responsible for client satisfaction, client retention and new business.

“Michael’s customer focus and his keen understanding of the Australian and New Zealand markets will help us deliver on our digital CWT 3.0 strategy, which will give business travelers the kind of experience they expect from their leisure travel,” said Kai Chan, CWT’s President for Asia Pacific.

“While compliance and savings remain key, more and more companies here are beginning to focus on their travelers’ overall experience – with the ultimate aim of boosting productivity.”

Ryan will be based in Sydney and will join CWT’s Asia Pacific leadership team, reporting to Kai Chan.

Ryan has more than 20 years of business development and management experience across a range of industries, including financial services, telecommunications and sporting goods.

He joins CWT from American Express’ Merchant Services division, where he was Vice President, Merchant & Loyalty Solutions, responsible for leading and growing the corporate and enterprise payments business in Asia Pacific. Prior to that, he held various roles at American Express, Optus, Adidas and Coca Cola Amatil.

Ryan holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from Macquarie University. He enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures, and is a health and fitness buff who loves cycling.

Georgina Williams Joins Best Western Australasia

georgina bestwestern

 Highly regarded hotel executive Georgina Williams has joined Best Western Australasia as Brand Development Manager with responsibility for growing the group’s profile and presence in Australia and New Zealand.

“My main role is to bring new members into the Best Western family, working closely with Steve Richards, the Head of Commercial at BWA,” Georgina said.

Georgina has held senior roles at several leading hospitality companies including SilverNeedle Hospitality, Stamford Hotels & Resorts and Swissotel. She brings a very strong marketing and communications background to the job, relishing her new role and the challenges it brings.

She added that talks are under way with local hoteliers about Best Western’s latest brand, SureStay, a white label option for the budget market, and that the response has been positive.

“Best Western has exceptional recognition with travellers around the world with a highly successful Quality Assurance Program and Net Promoter customer experience score here in Australia,” sais Georgina.

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit Appoints Schnatz General Manager

Oliver Schnatz_Sofitel Sukhumvit

 A German national who has held high-ranking positions with some of the world’s most recognisable luxury hotel groups has been named general manager of the flagship property for Sofitel Luxury Hotels in Southeast Asia. In June, Oliver Schnatz assumed the lead role at the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit after spending almost three years as the hotel manager of the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. 

Since his first posting in Thailand in 2001 at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, the 43-year-old has also served as general manager of Sri Panwa Resort in Phuket and executive assistant manager at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.

Schnatz began his hospitality career in 1994 with Steigenberger Hotel near Frankfurt. Five years later, he took a job with Hotel Plaza Athenee New York as its assistant food and beverage manager.

Schnatz’s long-term goal for the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit is to make it the “first choice on Sukhumvit Road for the discerning traveler,” he said. He would also like to see the hotel become the “living room” for locals and the top choice in Bangkok for lunch, dinner, drinks, celebrations and meetings.

Opened in April 2012, the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit has made a name for itself in the luxury hotel market by marrying French elegance with Thai hospitality and design.

Six Senses Appoints Sanjeev Shukla as Director of Sales and Marketing for Bali Resort

Sanjeev Shukla has been appointed as director of sales and marketing for their upcoming resort in Bali Indonesia – Six Senses Uluwatu. The resort, scheduled to open in 2018,  is set cliff top with spectacular views of the island’s revered Uluwatu Temple. 

A native of India and a technophile, Shukla began his career in the hospitality sector with The Oberoi Hotels & Resorts in India as a sales executive, growing to a sales manager.

In 2005, he joined The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts in Goa, India as a head of sales and grew into the role of director of international sales for the group while being responsible for managing their marketing alliance with Kempinski. He then joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as director of marketing in 2009 for Mumbai and Moscow.

Shukla was subsequently promoted to the senior director of marketing, and transferred to Bali in 2016, with the sales and marketing responsibility for the two Four Seasons Resorts in Ubud and Jimbaran Bay.

Shukla has a Degree in Hospitality Management from Southern Cross University, Sydney. A technophile, gamer and an avid reader, he is also a certified pilot on the Boeing 777 – 200/300 on the flight simulator.

Shukla and his wife Malavika are committed travelers and enjoy exploring new destinations. His multi destination and multi locational sales and marketing experience is intertwined with his passion for the high-end hospitality industry.

Gilpin Travel Expansion Creates New Australasian Role


Eugene De Villiers who founded award winning reward, incentive and event management business, Extra Mile Company (EMC), has confirmed he is passing over the reins after two decades.

De Villiers, who sold the business earlier this year, has been consulting to the new owners, 212F.

On 15 July, De Villiers will commence a newly created role at Gilpin Travel as General Manager, Engagement Strategy, Australasia.

Keith Sumner, Managing Director, Gilpin Travel said of the appointment; “Being able to work with someone of Eugene’s caliber and harness his considerable industry knowledge and renowned creativity across our business on both sides of the Tasman was an opportunity that I simply couldn’t pass up on.”

De Villiers said of his new role; “I am really excited about this new challenge and can’t wait to get my teeth into it. Yes, I still have my own teeth! ”

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour Appoints Barking Owl Communications

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour render night copy

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour has appointed boutique agency Barking Owl Communications to assist with the launch campaign and the ongoing communications program for the highly anticipated opening of this luxury property slated for 6 October, 2017.

Centrally located in the vibrant, newly transformed city precinct, adjacent to the International Convention Centre, Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour will be the first internationally branded, five star, new build hotel to open in Sydney since the Olympics.

The communications program will include event management, an extensive visiting journalist program, influencer and ambassador outreach and brand partnerships to showcase the world-class accommodation and food and beverage offerings that promise to set this luxury hotel apart.

The contract between Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour and Barking Owl Communications commenced in June 2017 and the account team will be led by Jill Collins.


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