When Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady made her inaugural sailing on Australian shores earlier this month, it was only natural that TravelManagers’ Tanya Barker would be on board to share the experience, having sold an astonishing 213 cabins for the 2023/24 season.
Barker’s incredible sales were driven by a decision to focus on promoting a two-night sampler cruise experience. She believes that having experienced this new contemporary cruise line, many of her clients will be returning to book longer cruises next time.
A few weeks prior during a Virgin Voyages webinar, when Tanya was recognised for her sales, Sir Richard Branson was so impressed he remarked he would like to thank her personally when he was in Australia. An invitation for her and fellow PTM, Jo Patton, who has also achieved strong sales on Virgin Voyages, to join the company’s visionary founder for a private meet-and-greet on the ship’s arrival in Melbourne followed – an offer that they were delighted to accept.
“I was met by Mark Lowman, Virgin Voyages’ Australian Sales Manager, and escorted to a private room called ‘The Scene’, where we were offered afternoon tea,” said Barker.
“Sir Richard was honestly appreciative of my great sales and effort to sell so many cabins; he was genuinely interested in how I achieved these sales, asked what I thought of the itineraries in this first season and where I thought would be good ports of call for future seasons.”
Tanya and Jo spent a highly memorable time with Sir Richard Branson: an experience that Barker describes as the highlight of her year.
“Before he went, I asked for a photo, he signed his autobiography for me, I gave him a hand-made thank you card and some lovely hand-made cookies from a client, and wished him and his family a very Merry Christmas.”
“Meeting Sir Richard Branson was a dream come true, and one that I will always remember,” she adds. “The experience reminded me not to be afraid to push my boundaries and to always follow my dreams.”
Lead image: PTMs Tanya Barker (left) and Jo Patton with Virgin Voyages Founder, Sir Richard Branson.