From the Editor – Oct 2014

travelBulletin managing editor Bruce Piper shares his thoughts on the current state of play.

Bruce - head shotFirst and foremost, thank you to the hundreds of readers who gave us their feedback on the first new look travelBulletin last month. Our team is truly humbled at the huge response and we hope you enjoy this issue just as much – please let us know what you think by sending an email to [email protected]/ccmwp.

Among all the other activity in the industry, this month we have coverage on the continuing travel agent conference season, with many groups holding their annual gatherings during October and November.

travelBulletin and Travel Daily have already attended the TravelManagers conference in Singapore, and in the coming weeks we are flat out, heading off to conferences to be held by Travellers Choice, Travel Partners, Magellan and the Independent Travel Group among others.

However one notable exception to our calendar has been the much-touted Helloworld Owner Managers Conference, which took place earlier this month in Los Angeles. Some years ago Helloworld’s predecessor JTG welcomed coverage of its events, but with the major makeover of the company and the attempted axing of its various brands it appears somewhat of a siege mentality has developed.

So much so that when travelBulletin posted a Facebook photo of the Helloworld management team after bumping into them at the airport when they were en route to Los Angeles for the conference, we were asked to remove the image in short order because apparently “it’s not a good look”.

It’s all very well to receive sanitised photos and press releases after the fact, but in this day of instant updates and social media this type of “manufactured” news is easily seen through – as evidenced by the plethora of industry newsletters and magazines which basically regurgitate media releases.

With hundreds of agents having already departed the Helloworld ranks, the group’s publicity-shyness is telling, particularly given that transparency of overrides and head office costs are some of the key factors being touted by competitors to attract new members.

After all the changes, goodness knows Helloworld needs some positive coverage, and having a more open policy would be a first step – otherwise there’s constant speculation about what’s being hidden.

However this non-transparent policy may be changing, with an invitation now received to attend the Helloworld Frontliners conference in Adelaide next month. For Helloworld’s sake we can only hope that this heralds a new era of openness for the company.

Bruce Piper, Managing Editor

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