“I’m going to empower”: Kaylene Shuttlewood on her plan for the Travel Counsellors

“I’m going to empower”: Kaylene Shuttlewood on her plan for the Travel Counsellors

Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of attending the Travel Counsellors conference in sunny Cairns!

And let us tell you, we are just giddy with energy and inspiration, which is saying something because usually come Monday morning, the only thing we’re giddy with is a caffeine high and a mild hangover.

For those of you who don’t know, the Travel Counsellors Conference is held annually to give Travel Counsellors (TCs) the opportunity to celebrate their success and build upon their knowledge.

This year they were inspired by the wise words of seven-time world champion surfer, Layne Beachley, and author of Secrets for Business Success Cian McLoughlin.

They heard all about the tools and resources available to them through their online learning portal, COACH, as well as latest technology the company offers them including upgrades to their in-house booking system, Phenix, a rundown of how the TC app works and how to successfully market their business.

Not to mention all the amazing holidays that were up for grabs, the fantastic pow-wow session that allowed them to catch up with their suppliers and the social events that gave them the opportunity to kick up their heels with fellow TCs.

We witnessed many a tearful reunion in the hotel lobby and plenty of great dance move on display at the Gala Awards night, where the head office staff were able to recognise and reward all the fabulous achievements of the TCs.

This year the conference was also a chance for TCs to say goodbye to their previous regional general manager, Fred Van Eijk, and become acquainted with incoming GM, the wonderful Kaylene Shuttlewood!

Shuttlewood outlined her goals and plans for the company and made a firm commitment to her TCs.

“I’m going to empower our team to do their job, to make decisions, to get things done and to be proactive.”

“I’m going to lead by example, I’ll roll up my sleeves, I’ll work hard, I’ll be tenacious, offer commitment and loyalty.”

“I want to work hard with our TCs, it’s the foundation of our business, I want to ensure you have the right tools, the right support services that you can make your business a success.”

Shuttlewood is already an industry veteran, having held senior positions in the UK, Australia and USA, with previous roles including Head of Affiliate at Helloworld and Director of Air Product for Stella Travel Group, and General Manager Air Tickets.

We managed to catch up with her in between the fantastic conference session and scrumptious meal breaks.

Shuttlewood told us the reason she decided to take her new position in the Travel Counsellors was two-fold:

“There was the culture of the organisation, which is it’s truly unique. My challenge now is to make sure I can replicate that in head office,” she told us.

“And the second one was the tech. I’ve got a really strong technology background and a really strong understanding of how it can be used to improve a business and to add value to that personal touch, not replace it.”

As for the conference, Shuttlewood said that it is a crucial aspect of the home based travel agent business model.

“[Many TCs] are working remotely or working on their own and because of the remoteness they can’t go to an event or a suppliers conference so this is a fantastic opportunity for them to meet all the suppliers which is why we did the pow-wow yesterday,” she said.

“It’s also a great opportunity to build friendships, the TCs, they really want to help each other.”

“Something that I’ve been really noticing is that there is absolutely no competitiveness between the TCs.”

“It’s about their own referrals and their own database so that’s been really nice to see.”

“They are just so open to helping someone else because it’s their own business. I think that’s the key for the conference.”

“For us, it’s a lot more personal, it’s a lot more bespoke, and it’s about having that relationship with our customer throughout the journey, throughout their whole life.”

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