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Avis Scholarship Winner Experiences a New York State of Mind

September 28, 2017 Photo Gallery No Comments Email Email

Barbara Baron scaled the Empire State Building, caught a game at Yankees Stadium and did the Sex in the City tour, but for the 2016 Avis Travel Agents Scholarship recipient the most quintessentially New York moment in her prize-winner’s trip occurred while cycling along the Hudson River.

“The city is insanely fast and busy, so my husband and I were really enjoying the calm as we rode along,” says Baron. “Then I heard this loud noise and suddenly there was a guy on a bike alongside us listening to a self-help tape, which was blasting out from speakers.

“As the person on the tape told him to ‘feel all the positive energy of those around you’, he happily drifted off in a very New York-style self-help bubble, completely oblivious to the fact that he was destroying everyone’s nice quiet ride!”

Baron, a consultant with Sydney’s Sylvania Travel & Cruise, also took in a show at Times Square, dined in some of the city’s hippest eateries and snagged tickets to the US Open where she watched – along with actor James Franco – a quarter final match featuring Venus Williams.

A memorable international trip remains a key element of this year’s Avis Travel Agent Scholarship prize package, but in 2017 the recipient will have the option of travelling to the United States, Europe or Asia. As part of the trip, they will also get to hear from some of the travel industry’s most visionary leaders when they attend a Phocuswright conference.

This year’s Scholarship is for the first time focused on innovation, with judges looking for Australian and New Zealand travel agents who are finding new or novel ways to deliver a memorable customer service – whether through the imaginative use of social media and technology, or the introduction of a new twist on a familiar form of customer engagement.

As well overseas travel, the 2017 Scholarship’s winner’s 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).

To take part agents simply need to visit in order to register and answer a series of online questions on their approach to customer service innovation.

Agents have until 9 October 2017 to submit their application – which can be in written or video format – with finalists announced on 26 October 2017.

Finalists will receive return flights to Sydney and accommodation on 13 November 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.

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