Epic State of Origin Battle Under Way at TravelManagers

Epic State of Origin Battle Under Way at TravelManagers

The stage has been set for another epic state versus state battle after the completion of the first round of TravelManagers’ second annual trivia championship, with the second round due to get under way later this week.

“The inaugural competition was held in August last year as a light-hearted way to bring together personal travel managers (PTMs) and National Partnership Office (NPO) staff in a fun, virtual environment,” explains TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal. “The event was a massive success, and a new tradition was born.”

This year’s tournament was once again organised by Noree Kahika, who is TravelManagers’ Business Partnership Manager (BPM) for northern New South Wales, southern Queensland and the Northern Territory. She says many participants had high expectations of victory this time around, given that last year’s champion, Luke Vaughan, is temporarily located in Toronto, Canada.

“Luke wasn’t going to let a little thing like a fourteen-hour time difference stop him from notching up another victory,” Kahika grins. “He logged on from Toronto at 2 am local time and put in another huge performance, scoring the maximum 30 points on behalf of his home state of Victoria.”

“Our 2020 State of Origin trivia competition was so much fun and a brilliant way to connect with my colleagues when we couldn’t catch up and celebrate as usual,” Vaughan explains. “Although this year I am half a world away in Canada, nothing was going to stop me from helping to defend our VIC crown!”

The competition, which is conducted via the Kahoot app, attracted 64 hopeful participants in the first round, each with the dream of bringing glory to their home state thanks to a State of Origin-style format.

“We play three rounds of twenty questions and Kahoot automatically assigns points per player per correct answer to give us the top three players of the session,” Kahika explains. “Our first match was Victoria/Tasmania going up against New South Wales/ACT, while our second match (a week later) was between Western Australia/South Australia against Queensland/Northern Territory.”

Despite Vaughan’s win putting the Victoria/Tasmania combination into an early lead, an impressive performance by Christie Gowan (representing QLD) and Tania Myles (representing NT) put the QLD/NT team into the lead at the end of the first round.

“I am a trivia junkie, with a brain full of facts irrelevant to real life,” Gowan laughs. “It’s often hard to find an outlet for this obsession, especially during a pandemic, so I was overjoyed to see that our BPM team was putting together “State of Origin” Zoom trivia series again this year.”

Gowan says last year’s competition was so much fun, she didn’t hesitate to sign up again.

“It got my brain working again and my heart pumping – my FitBit even registered our first round of competition as more than half an hour of exercise! Although I’d love for the QLD/NT team to win this year, ultimately all of us are winners. We get to see the faces of other PTMs, our BPMs and some of our NPO team; we share a drink and a laugh, knowing that we’ll back to face-to-face trivia again soon, and also back what we all love most: travelling.”

“With two further rounds to play in the round robin format before we get to the Grand Final, the trash talk is already starting,” Kahika says. “Everyone’s having a lot of fun – one participant even left her [Covid temporary] work early to participate, having informed her boss that she had an important appointment to attend!”

Gazal says the light-hearted format of the competition underpins an important aim: boosting the morale of an industry that has endured and is continuing to endure an incredibly tough time.

“The sense of family that has always been a big part of the TravelManagers culture remains strong – right down to the friendly rivalry, heckling and shameless bribery that are key components to everyone’s enjoyment of the competition,” he concludes.

For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Graciela Craig on 1800 019 599.