Personal travel managers (PTMs) relish the freedom and flexibility of being able to dictate their own work hours, location and areas of specialisation. TravelManagers is focused on providing its 480-plus PTMs with a strong support network so that assistance is readily available to them as and when it is required. Andrea Friend, representative for Cranbourne East in Victoria, has only been with TravelManagers for four months, but she recently discovered first-hand just how important that support network really is. What’s surprising about this story is that it was Friend as a relative newcomer to the company who was able to come to the assistance of a long established PTM, via the company’s “buddy system”.
TravelManagers’ Tanya Patterson (on right) and Andrea Friend: professional “buddies” and good friends.
Tanya Patterson is TravelManagers’ representative for Clyde North, approximately three kilometres from Friend’s location. Because of their close proximity to each other, the two PTMs had paired as buddies, although they had only met briefly in person.
“My computer crashed and I needed to book some clients to go to Port Douglas later that afternoon,” Patterson explains. “Andrea gave me amazing support: she helped with back office, then let me borrow her office, her phone, her computer… I sincerely and gratefully appreciate her friendship, camaraderie, support and generosity.”
Even more importantly, the support that Patterson received from Friend meant that she was still able to provide great service to her customers despite the technological difficulties she was facing.
“They didn’t have a clue what was going on at my end!”
For Friend, the experience reinforced her belief that she had chosen the right company to work for.
“Another PTM had told me that my colleagues would be willing to help out whenever needed. This experience demonstrated just how true that was – it really made me feel that I’m not on my own, and that we are definitely one big happy family.”
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, agrees.
“We have a strong focus on creating a family culture and spirit of mutual help, where the sharing of information and provision of assistance between our PTMs is made simple,” he explains. “The buddy system means each PTM has someone they can call on for support at any time, without making judgements. Regardless of the different levels of experience, the relationship works both ways so that either one can call on the other and ask for help, or even just a chat when they are sick of their own company.”
According to Gazal, the company also offer PTM-led webinars, intranet forums and closed user Facebook pages.
“The buddy system is just one of the ways we put our co-operative philosophy into practice, so that our PTMs feel connected and supported, regardless of how geographically separate they may be.”
It may seem more likely that two PTMs working in such close proximity might tend to view one another as competitors rather than allies, but Patterson says the opposite is true: the experience has allowed to their buddy relationship to grow into a genuine friendship.
“This experience has shown me once again that I’m not alone. Although we are potential competition for each other, we are not working against each other, but we can work together to achieve our goals. Establishing this buddy relationship has been very easy given the positive nature we both share.”
Friend agrees wholeheartedly with this statement.
“Wonderful friendships can be built on the back of a small crisis. I have always been willing to help out whenever I can and I know how much Tanya appreciated my help. She gave me back my belief that there really are appreciative people out there. Getting to know Tanya better over the last couple of months, I definitely know that this is a friendship that will last a very long time.”
“She won’t get rid of me now!”
For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.