TravelManagers say mahalo to successful agents

THE annual TravelManagers conference kicked off in Honolulu amidst a blaze of colourful Hawaiian hula dancing and soothing folk music, with the locally inspired entertainment clearly signalling the group’s intention to leverage as much of the natural beauty and culture of Hawaii as possible during its three-day event.

Once the cultural dancing had subsided and the last string of the ukulele was skilfully plucked, day one of TravelManagers 12th conference got underway, with more than 350 people in attendance at the Prince Waikiki Luxury Resort located in Hawaii’s sunny capital.

Executive general manager Michael Gazal set the tone for the gathering, delivering an upbeat opening address that sought to define the term “success”, and what the concept truly meant in the context of the company’s ethos.

“Success in life is about realising your full potential and we all know that balance is the key,” Gazal told the audience.

“Success is about eating well, exercising, making a contribution, connecting with society and most importantly, having a positive attitude,” he added.

Proving that this was much more than rhetoric designed to inspire, Gazal followed his remarks up by announcing a major wellness initiative.

“We’ve decided this year to invest in our own community and introduce for the first time our very own Network Assistance Program. From 1 September our PTMs will have access to a national network of clinical psychologists for up to six consultations absolutely free,” Gazal said.

The announcement was the culmination of a new tie up with human resource consultancy PeopleSense, furthering TravelManagers’ desire to assist its network of agents to better negotiate the common pitfalls associated with working remotely.


TravelManagers chairman Barry Mayo took some time out from the conference to sit down with travelBulletin and explain the initiative in more detail.

“I was recently chatting with a PTM from the Riverina region and she was talking about how isolated she felt down there and why she loves to get involved in our online webinars and cluster meetings,” Mayo said.

“Every year we’ve had our conference we have looked to invest in a charity initiative…so this year we thought the cause could be investing in the wellbeing of our own people,” he added.

Mental health awareness remained a recurring theme throughout the conference, with TravelManagers director Chris Paulsen delivering a moving keynote speech about his own family’s battle with mental illness to close day two of the event, while bushfire survivor and long-distance runner Turia Pitt was called in at the end of day three to describe her battle with depression during the recovery from her injuries.

Juxtaposing this serious message was a myriad of fun high-spirited team-building activities and workshops which included a scavenger hunt through the streets of Honolulu, where groups competed against each other in a race to some of the city’s most famous landmarks.

The national conference wrapped up with a dazzling Gala Awards night which saw the company’s best and brightest honoured with a series of awards in recognition for their efforts over the past 12 months.

Taking out the top prize of the night was David Hull from Mount Martha in Victoria, who walked away with the coveted Personal Travel Manager of the Year award for 2018.

The next host destination for the TravelManagers conference will be Perth in 2019.