TravelManagers’ Conference Concentrates on the Customer
PUBLISHED: All Travel trade media Fri 9 August 2019
The final countdown is now on for TravelManagers’ annual National Conference, which gets underway in Perth on Friday. More than 395 participants are expected at the event, which has become on a major occasion on the company’s calendar since the first conference was held in Sydney in 2008.
Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, has revealed the theme for this year’s conference will be ‘customer’, which he says is a natural progression from that of last year’s focus on ‘success’.
“In Honolulu we spent a lot of time discussing the tools, skills and innovations required to help our PTMs and industry partners achieve success in their business and personal lives – from improving work-life balance to developing functional and personal skills. This year it’s about applying all of that to our already-obsessive focus on our personal travel managers’ (PTMs”) customers – how we connect with them and how we can further enhance their travel experiences to deliver on their travel needs, hopes and dreams.”
Although official conference proceedings are scheduled to get under way at 10am Friday morning, Perth time, conference attendees have been arriving in Perth since the start of the week to participate in various pre-conference events including optional tours of Margaret River, Rottnest Island and Perth and the traditional golf tournament, which this year will be held at Wembley Golf Course.
“With participants from all over Australia a lot of our PTMs and suppliers don’t get to see each other often during the year, so the pre-conference activities are a fun way to reconnect with colleagues and friends before the serious business gets started,” Gazal says. “By Friday morning there will be a real buzz in the air.”
According to Gazal, one of the most important and anticipated components of TravelManagers’ annual conference is the opportunity to give back to the community by partnering with a local charity. In previous years this has involved a range of activities, from renovating a school in Fiji to building bikes for under privileged children in Sydney. In 2019, the company has chosen to join forces with Ronald McDonald House Charities Western Australia, who provide a ‘home away from home’ for regional Western Australian families of seriously ill children receiving hospital treatment in Perth.
“When families have to travel far from home to receive specialised medical treatment, seeking accommodation in an unfamiliar place only adds to their fear and uncertainty,” Gazal explains. “To support them in providing a safe, happy haven for those families, our PTMs, NPO team members and supplier and media partners have been invited to donate an item to one of two programs: Books on Beds, which provides a new book for every child that stays overnight, or Arts & Crafts, contributing much-needed supplies to their learning centre.”
Additionally, the night before the conference starts, a small team comprised of suppliers, NPO representatives and nine PTMs who have attended all twelve previous TravelManagers’ conferences will participate in a Ronald McDonald House initiative known as “Home for Dinner”. They will provide a home-cooked dinner for the families staying at Ronald McDonald House, as well as co-ordinating decorations, entertainment and a few surprises for the kids.
Gazal says the decision to support Ronald McDonald House this year was an easy one, given that key values of the charity (Family, Excellence, Integrity, Inclusion and Energy) closely align with TravelManagers’ own values.
“The opportunity to work together each year in helping another amazing organisation connects us as a group and remains as a lasting memory of the TravelManagers conference experience. If we can make just a small difference in families’ lives, it makes our conference experience that much more meaningful.”
TravelManagers’ 2019 conference concludes on Sunday night with a gala awards dinner in the Crown Perth’s Grand Ballroom that Gazal describes as a glamorous, fun-filled evening with colleagues and friends, celebrating an inspiring weekend and honouring the achievements of the past year.