Midweek Interview

Midweek Catch-up with TravelManager’s Leeanne Freeman

TravelManagers’ cruise operations executive can’t wait to get her daughters on their first-ever cruise this year, prompting us to call our mums and urge them to reconsider their career choices.

What’s your main goal for this year?

My primary responsibility is to liaison with our Australia-wide personal travel manager (PTM) network and be each PTMs main point of contact in supporting them on all matters related to cruise.

Consequently, my main goal is to learn, learn, learn – with so many new policies and protocols in place, this is the year to tick off more online learning academy programs, with CLIA’s Cruise Master being the ultimate goal.

Despite COVID, client interest in cruising, especially expedition and experiential cruising is amazingly high and delivering attractive cruise content via our exclusive cruise EDMs is a real win/win for our partner suppliers and PTMs.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the travel industry?

People’s tenacity when it comes to talking about holidays and amazing travel destinations which, although they have not been travelling due to COVID restrictions and uncertainty about government policies, still is strong.

Where cruise is concerned there are so many cruise lines and styles of cruising that there is truly something for everyone. Helping our PTMs build their cruise business is such a buzz!

How do you like to spend your free time?

What’s free time? – I have 2 sport-crazy daughters so any “free time” usually means running them around to another game or training session.

Have you managed to do any travelling since restrictions began to ease (domestic or international)?

See above.

What’s your favourite travel company, besides the one you work for?

I am so thankful for everything CLIA has done and continues to do in the fight to bring our cruise ships back, and the support they offer to all members, in particular with CLIA’s rewards program.

If you could invite three famous guests (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would you choose?

Roger Federer (greatest of all time sportsman), Pink (what a woman – an amazing artist/performer, incredible mother and no doubt she would bring the wine) and Kevin Hart (to bring the laughs).

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the global pandemic hit?

The resilience, dedication, and professionalism of our PTMs. Whilst some have been working second jobs to make ends meet, they have still been contactable, rebooking clients’ holidays often at night – sometimes for the 3rd and 4th time with no additional income.

If there is one thing COVID has taught us it is that cruising with its enhanced health measures is one of the safest ways to travel and hopefully Australian ports will soon be open as they are in many other parts of the world where cruise is booming!

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the global pandemic?

Be positive – keep going. Holidays will always be important and play a big part in people’s lifestyles. Travel will be back, including cruise (hopefully soon) and clients will be lining up for their long-awaited holiday.

What book and/or TV show can you not get enough of lately?

Manifest on Netflix – although it might make me think twice about jumping on a plane again. Luckily I’m not going to Jamaica anytime soon.

Do you have any travel goals for 2022?

Taking my daughters on their first-ever cruise (Seriously…..I can’t stand the tears if they can’t go again).



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