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Avis Scholarship expands its scope in 21st year

August 15, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Avis is revamping its high-profile Avis Travel Agent Scholarship, which celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, by expanding the scholarship’s coverage and revamping its prize package.

The event’s focus remains firmly on travel agents.

Avis Budget Group’s managing director Pacific region, Kaye Ceille, said in Sydney yesterday the scholarship would expand to include New Zealand as well as Australia.

Andy Robb (Manager Agency Partner Marketing, Qantas Airways), Kaye Ceille (Managing Director Pacific Region Avis Budget Group) and Joel Katz (Managing Director – Australasia, Cruise Lines International Association)

The scholarship has over the past two decades been closely identified with one of its keenest champions, travel industry manager Russell Butler, the driving force behind it, along with a group of key influencers, the Avis Travel Agents Advisory Board.

Butler, one of the best-known faces at Avis, retired last month after 28 years. The car rental company has undergone a restructure and reshuffle and Butler’s previous responsibilities are likely to be divided and reassigned rather than the position being filled directly.

For its 2017 scholarship, Avis is currently seeking travel agents from across Australia and New Zealand who are conceiving and implementing novel approaches to delivering customer service.

Flashback to last month: long-time Avis travel industry manager Russell Butler and wife Diane with well-wishers at his retirement function in Sydney

“Today’s travel agent operates in a hyper-competitive retail environment and to stand apart, consultants must constantly be looking for clever and creative ways to deliver a genuinely memorable service,” Ceille said.

“This year’s scholarship is looking for travel agents who do just that. It could be through the imaginative use of social media and technology, or the introduction of a new twist on a familiar form of customer engagement.

“If you are taking a new and innovative approach to the way you provide customer service, and you want an opportunity to take that passion for service innovation to a new level then the Avis Scholarship is for you.”

The 2017 recipient of the Avis Travel Agent Scholarship will receive return Qantas tickets, accommodation and car hire, with the choice of travelling to the United States, Europe or Asia to attend a Phocuswright conference. Phocuswright events are globally renowned for bringing together forward thinkers in an engaging and innovative format.

Scholarship team in Sydney yesterday. (Left to right): Scholarship judge Oliver Tams (Director Strategic Partnerships, Think), Kaye Ceille (Managing Director Pacific Region Avis Budget Group), 2016 Scholarship recipient Barbara Baron (Sylvania Travel & Cruise, NSW) and 2003 Scholarship recipient Michelle Ashcroft (Phil Hoffmann Travel, SA).

In addition, the Scholarship’s educational and travel-related prize package includes:

  • 12 months’ individual membership of Cruise Lines International Association Australasia (with exclusive access to the CLIA Accreditation Program and unlimited access to the CLIA Learning Academy) and free registration to attend Cruise360, the industry’s largest professional development event of the year, in Sydney in 2018.
  • A Polonious Resources Personal Profile, Feedback Session and on-call personal/professional coaching for 12 months.
  • Two tickets to the 2018 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards Gala Dinner (including return flights and overnight accommodation).
  • Finalists will receive return flights to Sydney and accommodation on Monday 13 November 2017 to attend a judging session and a presentation dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.  In addition, all finalists will receive a Personal Behavioural Profile and a consultation session with a Polonious Business Coach.

As in previous years, the Scholarship is open to all leisure and corporate travel agents. To take part agents simply need to visit to register and answer a series of online questions on their approach to customer service innovation.

Agents will have until Monday 9 October 2017 (close of business on that day) to submit their application – which can be in written or video format – with finalists announced on Thursday 26 October 2017.

Written by Peter Needham





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