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TravelManagers names next 2 years’ conference venues

TravelManagers’ 12th annual National Conference wrapped up last night in scintillating style, with a Gala Awards Dinner in the Grand Ballroom at Crown Towers, Perth, and the announcement of next year’s conference venue – and the venue for 2021 as well.

Next year, TravelManagers National Conference  will be held on Hamilton Island, 10-13 September 2020. The following year the event will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Christchurch is building a new convention centre and it will be ready in time for the conference in 2021, with TravelManagers scheduled to be one of the first big groups to use it.

TravelManagers is growing fast, with many new members among the 395 participants who attended this year’s conference. TravelManagers membership is now nearing 600 Personal Travel Managers (PCMs).

The three-day Perth conference began on Friday, with top-calibre speakers, social and sporting events.

There was also another side. As TravelManagers’ executive general manager, Michael Gazal, explains, one of the most important and anticipated components of TravelManagers’ annual conference is the opportunity to give back to the community by partnering with a local charity.

In previous years this has involved renovating a school in Fiji and building bikes for under-privileged children in Sydney; this year the company chose to join forces with Ronald McDonald House Charities Western Australia, who provide a ‘home away from home’ for regional Western Australian families of seriously ill children receiving hospital treatment in Perth.

“When families have to travel far from home to receive specialised medical treatment, seeking accommodation in an unfamiliar place only adds to their fear and uncertainty,” Gazal said.

Above: TravelManagers’ Julie Anderson taking care of the main course at Ronald McDonald House’s ‘Home for Dinner’ initiative

“To support them in providing a safe, happy haven for those families, our PTMs, NPO team members and supplier and media partners have been invited to donate an item to one of two programs: Books on Beds, which provides a new book for every child that stays overnight, or Arts & Crafts, contributing much-needed supplies to their learning centre.”

As further support for Ronald McDonald House, a small team of suppliers, NPO representatives and PTMs participated in an initiative known as “Home for Dinner” on Thursday night. They provided home-cooked dinners for families staying at Ronald McDonald House, as well as co-ordinating decorations, entertainment and a few surprises for the kids.

Above: It takes a lot of potatoes to feed 100 family members, but the TravelManagers team were up to the challenge (L-R): Kellie Browning, Louise (RMH Head Chef) and Karen Dowling

Lauren Compton, TravelManagers’ representative for Condon, Queensland, was one of the PTMs who helped out at Ronald McDonald House. She says she found the experience extremely rewarding and was thrilled to see their support made to the families she met.

“What an amazing initiative! This has highlighted my belief that giving is living and really underlined the value of love and support. It has been really amazing to be a part of today.”

Above: TravelManagers and partner suppliers provided a team of 15 amateur but enthusiastic chefs to prepare dinner for families at Ronald McDonald House in Perth on Thursday night: Back row (L-R) Joe Araullo, Gena Signorini (Amadeus), Lance Dye (Carnival), Sally McCallum, Michael Morrissey (Allianz), Lisa Gair (APT), Julie Anderson, Kellie Browning, Michael Gazal, Karen Dowling, Louise (RMH Head Chef), Julia McLean. Front row (L-R) Linda Hussey (Uniworld), Brigitta Tolic (Qantas Airways) Lauren Compton and Jodie Payne.

 

“It was fantastic to come along this afternoon,” added Gena Signorini from Amadeus. “Being able to give back to the community, seeing the faces of the families we were feeding and witnessing the really great work that Ronald McDonald House does brings you back to reality and reminds you that it’s important to focus on the little things.”

WLCL’s Lance Dye spent a lot of time in hospitals as a child and says he can appreciate the fantastic support Ronald McDonald House Western Australia provides to families in tough times.

“It’s a great facility for families to come and seek refuge when they are going through a pretty hard time. It was great to join forces and help out as part of the TravelManagers team tonight, providing a nice meal and giving the families a really good night.”

Above: Helping out with dinner and a show at Ronald McDonald House were (L-R): Julia McLean, Julie Anderson, Karen Dowling and Sally McCallum

Gazal says the decision to support Ronald McDonald House this year was an easy one, given that key values of the charity (Family, Excellence, Integrity, Inclusion and Energy) closely align with TravelManagers’ own values.

“The opportunity to work together each year in helping another amazing organisation connects us as a group and remains as a lasting memory of the TravelManagers conference experience. If we can make just a small difference in families’ lives, it makes our conference experience that much more meaningful.”

Written by Peter Needham

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