TravelManagers’ recent Annual National Conference drew personal travel managers (PTMs) from all over Australia to a three-day event that was based in Adelaide. It has become a key feature of the conference to include a line-up of pre- and post-conference famils that give PTMs the opportunity to explore the best of the host region.
Gold Coast based PTMs Aileen Collins and Marta Fergusson discover the magnificent beauty of Kangaroo Island overlooking Pennington Bay.
“Scratch any of our personal travel managers and you’ll find a committed travel nut. It’s why we do what we do,” says TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal. “These famils are an opportunity to remind ourselves that we don’t have to travel offshore to find amazing travel experiences with which to tempt our clients.”
Itineraries this year included Port Lincoln & Coffin Bay, the Fleurieu Peninsula, the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley, but Gazal says the most popular choice was a three-day, two-night visit to Kangaroo Island, with thirty PTMs and eight of their partners taking this option.
Debra Deane, representative for Port Macquarie in New South Wales, was one of the group. She says she and her husband chose Kangaroo Island because it was somewhere they’d never been and that they were unlikely to ever choose if left to their own devices.
“My husband has been involved in the wine industry for many years and he currently works part-time as the Fine Wine Expert in Dan Murphy’s Port Macquarie. He actually wanted to go to the Barossa again but I won… err, I mean, we negotiated a compromise and mutually agreed we’d go to Kangaroo Island instead.”
The compromise was obviously successful, as Deane and her husband are already planning a return visit, and this time they’ll be taking clients with them.
“We’re using our new-found knowledge to construct an itinerary that includes the amazing, diverse scenery of both Kangaroo Island and the Barossa and McLaren Vale, using our combined knowledge of wines and food of all of those areas.”
Marta Fergusson, representative for Reedy Creek in the Gold Coast hinterland, has no trouble in identifying the highlight of the famil for her.
“I just loved the magnificent beauty of the Kangaroo Island scenery; we visited some simply breath-taking landmarks including Pennington Bay, the sand dunes at Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action and the Remarkable Rocks – a wind sculpted rock formation that sits on top of a smooth granite dome. We even got to meet some New Zealand Fur Seals who now call Australia home!”
Fergusson says experiencing Kangaroo Island for herself will definitely influence how she sells it to her clients.
“Having seen first-hand the relative pros and cons of a self-drive itinerary and a guided tour (freedom to set your own schedule but the chance of getting lost versus expert local knowledge but reduced flexibility) means I can match the right option to my individual clients’ needs,” she explains. “Dick, our bus driver/tour guide really tipped the scales in favour of a guided tour from my perspective – he was funny and informative all at once.”
Both PTMs agree that the investment of both time and money in taking part in such a famil pays great dividends to their businesses.
“I have such a great network of colleagues who I can call on for client support if I’m going to be absent. And even with the patchy phone and internet service on Kangaroo Island, we have some pretty clever technology solutions that allow me to keep tabs on what’s happening back at home.”
Gazal says the famils were hugely successful, thanks in no small part to the fantastic support of South Australia Tourism.
“We are very lucky to have such strong relationships with industry partners like South Australia Tourism – their detailed knowledge of the destination really added something special to each and every itinerary,” he says.
For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.