Personal Travel Managers’ Steps To Success
PUBLISHED: Karry-On, ETB Travel News, e-Global Travel Media
As companies are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits – social, physical and emotional – of untethering their people from the traditional desk environment, the idea of walking meetings has taken hold throughout the business world. TravelManagers’ Julia McLean has incorporated the concept into her role as Business Partnership Manager (BPM), and says the walking meetings she has conducted with small groups of personal travel managers (PTMs) have been well-received.
“Typically, the walks have lasted just over an hour and have concluded with a coffee – on each walk we’ve tracked at least 10,000 steps, or five to seven kilometres, and have been a great setting in which to exchange ideas.”
The idea sprang from a presentation at TravelManagers’ annual National Conference in Hawaii last year, when a wellness workshop brought up the concept.
“The concept that it’s really important to take care of your body, given it’s the only place you have to live, really resonated with me,” McLean explains. “I was already an avid walker and try to walk every morning – it’s when I do my best thinking and it helps me start my day well.”
Famously favoured by Steve Jobs, walking meetings have been shown to be conducive to creative thinking and are considered effective at breaking down hierarchical structure.
“I find them particularly useful for one-on-one meetings,” McLean adds. “They allow for an easy, flowing conversation to take place – harder topics such as business performance can be more comfortable to discuss when people are not sitting directly face-to-face.”
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, describes walking meetings as a natural fit with the company’s overall business philosophy.
“As Australia’s premium home-based travel network, we embrace the concept of a flexible work environment. Anything that helps deliver a better work/life balance, encourages creativity and fosters mental and physical wellbeing is going to result in a better outcome for our people and better service for our clients.”
McLean reports that the walking meetings she has already conducted have been well received by participants, who reported feeling more energised at the completion of the walk and ready to get back to work. Janice Lee, representative for Surry Hills, is one such happy participant.
“The meeting was a fantastic way to reconnect with fellow PTMs and to hear how they are coping with the challenges being a home-based travel advisor,” she explains.
PTM Danielle Goncalves, representative for Alexandria, NSW, says she too is eagerly awaiting the next walking meeting in her area.
“What a wonderful way to start your day and wrap up the the week,” she enthuses. “I got heaps out of it, so it was definitely time well-invested. There’s no better way to solve the world’s and our own problems than with fresh air and a walk around Sydney’s stunning harbour.”
McLean is even planning to hold walking meetings for PTMs with small children at home, recognising that the challenge of balancing kids, work and finding time for oneself can be addressed all at once.
“It’s the ideal time to brainstorm ideas for marketing, finding new client bases, thinking of touch points for client interaction or just sharing what works for your business or what you would like to do more of – each meeting is different.”
McLean says her walking meetings, which are held in addition to regular cluster and state meetings, will take place each month in a variety of locations throughout southern New South Wales, so that PTMs can expect a walk in their area at least every few months in 2019.
“I’ve been thrilled with the response,” says McLean. “All the PTMs who have walked so far have indicated they would like to do it again, and I’m putting together a schedule of dates and locations each month so that PTMs can schedule them well in advance.”