“I go in with a plan”: Travel Counsellors MD on how to make a difference in your business

“I go in with a plan”: Travel Counsellors MD on how to make a difference in your business

Travel Counsellors managing director Kaylene Shuttlewood is a bit of a jetsetter, to say the least.

With almost thirty years of industry experience under her belt, Shuttlewood has worked for some of the biggest names in the business including British Airways, Jetset Travelworld, Helloworld and most recently, Travelport.

She’s worked in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, London, New York and Los Angeles, just to name a few.

So when she arrived at Travel Weekly’s office for a feature in our magazine, we were expecting a high octane, worldly woman to come flying in, reeling off her latest adventures.

Instead, we were struck by her down to earth attitude and uniquely Australian outlook on life.

She said her love affair with all things travel stemmed from her love of taking trips with her family.

“When I finished school, I had always loved travelling with my family. I had a real passion for it,” she said.

“So, I decided to pursue what I didn’t even think was a career at that stage. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the journey it’s taken me on. Literally around the world.”

Since those early years, Shuttlewood has taken joy from her ability to turn a business around and make a real difference in her industry.

“I always leave a business in a better state than when I took the job, for me that’s really fulfilling,” she enthused.

“I go in with a plan. When I started working for the Stella Group in the UK, it wasn’t profitable. So we put a transformation plan in place to turn that business around and make it profitable.

“You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right staff, the right processes, the right efficiencies and technology in place.

“You look at all your procurement deals, your supplier relations, and then there’s the staff. It’s important to make sure you’re taking them on that journey with you. To make sure they understand what you’re doing.”

Travel Counsellors is a much smaller organisation than Shuttlewood is used to, but that didn’t dampen her enthusiasm for the role.

She said she found herself drawn to the prospect of a global business that gives power and a sense of ownership to local managing directors, as Travel Counsellors does.

“I’d been an admiring supplier to Travel Counsellors for some years now and it was evident to me that there are some real opportunities in Australia and that’s the core reason I joined the business,” Shuttlewood said.

After conducting some vigorous research, she found that Travel Counsellors ideology struck a chord with her on a profound level.

“Their philosophy really resonated with me and that’s the care culture that the organisation has,” she said.

“And that’s something I can see Travel Counsellors lives and breathes by. It’s a high-touch and high-tech approach. ‘With us, it’s personal’. I really liked that line.”

This interview is an edited extract from Travel Weekly’s print magazine. To read the rest, subscribe here. 

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