Dual role at itravel for ocean, river, expedition cruise expert

Cherie Bowman, Head of Product, LUXE by itravel

Home-based travel network, itravel, has enlisted travel and cruise specialist Cherie Bowman as the Head of the new LUXE by itravel division, LATTE can exclusively reveal, as a wave of new staff aligns with the independent group.

Launched last month, LUXE by itravel is the high-end, invitation-only brand of Steve Labroski’s independent coalition of travel advisors, and was introduced formally at Virtuoso AU/NZ Forum in Fiji. Bowman takes up her dual role as Head of Product, LUXE by itravel on Monday 17 April 2023.

Speaking exclusively with LATTE yesterday, Labroski said he was confident Bowman was the ideal recruit to launch and steer LUXE by itravel.

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Bowman’s travel industry career spans 15 years, including starting out on the frontline as a consultant with Flight Centre Travel Group before carving out a niche in the cruise segment. Over the past 10.5 years, Bowman has honed her knowledge of ocean, river and expedition with roles at Carnival Australia/Princess Cruises,

Cherie Bowman, Head of Product, LUXE by itravel

Scenic and most recently Lindblad Expeditions where she was Industry Account Manager for the past four years.

Labroski said LUXE by itravel will leverage both Bowman’s vast experience in the luxury space, plus her sound understanding of the Virtuoso network from her time with Lindblad Expeditions – it being a Virtuoso Preferred partner.

“Cherie plays in the worlds of cruise and luxury. She knows my network, and the people in my world, and she’s the right fit for what we want to do with LUXE by itravel,” he said with enthusiasm. She will also be involved in assisting the core business, itravel, grow its cruise business as LUXE by itravel evolves.

He said her energy and passion would help drive the success of the new brand.

Since launching LUXE by itravel, Labroski has been fielding requests from all directions from partners wishing to engage. Those initial conversations will be a key task for Bowman to pick up, nurture and grow for both parties.

At present, seven of itravel’s existing mobile advisors have already transitioned to LUXE by itravel, along with a highly experienced advisor from a rival network, lured by the exclusivity of being ‘invitation-only’.

“LUXE by itravel isn’t open to all. You have to have the sales on the board and prove your volume of luxury product. We have to know what you can achieve,” Labroski explained.

Commenting on her appointment, Bowman told LATTE “I am excited to build on my existing relationships within the industry – and to develop new ones – with a focus on creating new opportunities and growth, alongside Steve and the team, for the itravel and LUXE by itravel brands.”

Cherie Bowman with Emily Kadinski, itravel Carlingford at the 2022 CLIAs

Meanwhile, itravel has recently tapped back into the wholesale space with the revival of the ‘HQ by itravel’ arm following a pause due to the pandemic travel lull.

LATTE can reveal itravel has recruited Mark Brooker as Head of Wholesale, commencing 1 May 2023. Brooker has more than two decades experience in wholesale, predominantly at Helloworld, Qantas Holidays and Viva Holidays. He was most recently Product Manager at Skimax Holidays for 18 months.

Further, Labroski hinted that another senior executive role for his overall business is in the pipeline which he believes will likely be a game-changer for the “small fish” – a phrase Labroski uses to describe the footprint of itravel in the wider Australian travel industry landscape. Expect a big name to be revealed in the coming weeks.

“While other people are floundering and trying to figure out what direction to go, we know where we’re going, and we know what the business is going to look like in the next two to three years. And that’s critical,” he said.

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