TravelManagers’ 2018 annual national conference, consisting of three days of inspiring presentations, informative workshops, exciting announcements and entertaining activities, concluded in Hawaii on Sunday 19 August 2018 with their customary gala awards dinner.
The Prince Waikiki, located at the northern end of Honolulu’s most famous beach, acted as home base for the duration of the conference and it was only fitting that the awards dinner should take place in the hotel’s Prince Waikiki Pi’inaio Ballroom.
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, explained that personal travel managers (PTMs) received awards in a range of categories, including Top New PTM, Most Improved PTM and Top PTM (all three of which were awarded by state and overall).
One of the evening’s big winners was Sally Seward, who was awarded Top PTM for South Australia and Western Australia, as well as one of the Top Ten PTMs overall: an accomplishment that Gazal says was made even more remarkable given it was her first year with TravelManagers. As a result, Seward, who is representative for Cottesloe, WA, earned awards for Top New PTM both in her state and nationally.
Other Best New PTM by state included Samantha Harman for Victoria/Tasmania, Shannon Walford for Queensland and Michelle Lehn for NSW/ACT.
PTMs that have been with TravelManagers for 10 years were recognised with a Dedication Award. They included Heather Taylor, Cathy Moir, Aileen Collins, Sue Kuti, Pamela Edwards, Nicole Edgar, Alma Araullo, Simone Fraser, Stephanie Fung, Alison Johnson, Allan Roser, Moira de Vos, Ric Pattero, Agatha Vicario, Beverly Burt, Kylie Cilek, Allen Suss, Trine Rynehart, Ken Simpson, Penny Hall, Melinda Rowe, Maria Miller, Rebecca Dibbs, Tania McGuire and Jo Ainscough.
“Having joined TravelManagers in late-2016 and having started trading in 2017 after 32 years as an agency owner, the TravelManagers business model has provided me with the freedom and flexibility to focus on looking after my clients, without being responsible for the other demands of a traditional bricks and mortar agency,” Seward explained.
Another PTM to take home multiple awards was Tanya Tyler, representative for Riverview, NSW, who received awards for Most Improved PTM for both her state and nationwide. Tyler, who returned to the travel industry after a five-year absence, had to establish her own new database from scratch.
“As a goal-oriented person, Tanya started out by setting daily commission targets to write. That target has increased three-fold over the past two years: an achievement which has been key to her success,” says Gazal.
Natalie Miller, representative for Belmont, NSW, made the move to TravelManagers despite her concerns around having to learn completely new systems. Her willingness to embrace the challenge of those changes, and her reputation as one of the most helpful PTMs in the network, earned her the Recognition Award.
Another of TravelManagers’ Top Ten PTMs for 2017 was David Hull, representative for Mount Martha, Victoria, who left his role as a travel agency owner with a staff of 12 to join TravelManagers in 2011.
“David is a highly successful agent who has embraced the lifestyle choices made possible by a career with TravelManagers,” says Gazal. “He’s able to balance the demands of work with taking his son to and from school, keeping fit and enjoying plenty of family holidays, but always has time to share his highly valuable knowledge and experience with his colleagues.”
Cassandra Zayonce was the winner of the Choice Award, which is chosen by the PTM network and specifically recognises a fellow PTM for their willingness to help their peers.
“This award also reflects also Cassandra’s professionalism and her dedication to upholding the TravelManagers brand and culture,” Gazal added.
The winner of this year’s Spirit Award, Tanya Patterson, took home the Choice Award in 2017 and the Advocate Award in 2016, making her the only PTM to have achieved this hat-trick of accolades.
“Tanya is a great representative and advocate for TravelManagers,” says Gazal. “She’s always enthusiastic and happy to assist other PTMs, and frequently reaches out to new PTMs to ensure they are going well.”
Hoot Holidays was named Partner Supplier of the Year, while Jo Patton won the award for Most Successful Marketing Campaign.
At the end of the awards section of the gala dinner, the entire TravelManagers team of PTMs and the NPO team were thanked for their continued hard work, dedication and commitment.
With next year’s annual national conference confirmed for 9–11 August 2019 in Perth, Gazal says the company is already looking forward to celebrating what looks set to be another record-breaking year.