Travel Agents

From agent to GM: Here’s why you should enter the Avis Travel Agent Scholarship Program

If you haven’t already, you’re going to want to get in quick and apply for the industry’s most sought-after scholarship!

That’s right, folks, the 2018 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship Programme is back and is now officially taking applicants.

But you’ve only got until October 12th to enter, so we’d hop to it if we were you.

The winner will enjoy a range of prizes and experiences including international travel to Singapore to attend the Phocuswright Conference, professional guidance and access to training opportunities with organisations such as Cruise Lines International Association Australasia (CLIA)!

Just in case you need some extra convincing, we had a chat with 2003 winner, Michelle Ashcroft to see how she benefited from receiving the prestigious scholarship.

The scholarship helped catapult Ashcroft’s career in 2003 when she was promoted to Branch Manager at Phil Hoffman Travel following her win.

Phil-Michelle A 25th

After having the opportunity to attend quarterly Avis meetings where she was involved in industry topics and provided input, travelling to New York to experience how the US market operates as well as judge the 2004 Avis Scholarship finalists, Ashcroft took her learnings and implemented them into Phil Hoffman Travel to improve the business.

Winning the Scholarship exposed Ashcroft to industry heads, Avis board meetings and interstate events to build her network and personal brand.

Since winning, she’s also been promoted to General Manager of the whole business and now oversees sales including business travel, marketing, product and operations.

Here’s our Q&A with Ashcroft:

Travel Weekly: What do you think is a major challenge for the industry?

Michelle Ashcroft: Our skills shortage. As an industry we need to promote the professionalism, opportunities and career paths possible, and engage our next generation of leaders and global ambassadors.

TW: What do you love about your job?

MA: I love people and travelling, so I’m in the perfect job!

I love working with passionate people and the relationships we have as a team, with our supplier partners, and our clients.

I love making a difference, and working with a team committed to pushing boundaries, changing peoples lives, and extending our reach for the greater good.

TW: What are the frustrations? 

MA: Disruptors in our industry who devalue experience and service, with a race to the bottom on price.

TW: Where would you be if not travel? 

MA: A conservationist. I’m very passionate about the preservation of wildlife and our environment.

TW: What would you say your career highlights have been so far?

MA: I’m lucky to have had many.. winning the Avis scholarship in 2003 was a highlight, as was winning the NTIA manager of the year a few years later.

But ultimately, I feel proudest inside when as a team we’re making a difference – growing career paths, sending clients on life-changing holidays, or using our influence for the greater good of people and planet.

TW: How do you spend your downtime? 

MA: I love dinner and drinks with family and friends, or a movie night on the couch.

Yoga is back on the agenda too.

TW: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

MA: Keep your heels, head and standards high! (Coco Chanel)

TW: And your favourite holiday?

MA: European Christmas markets. I could stay lost in their magic forever.


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