Career in focus: Rhona Rodgers
Cruise Product Manager
MTA — Mobile Travel Agents
1. What does your role involve and how long have you been in your current position?
As an MTA Cruise Product Manager my tasks vary every day. From liaising with cruise lines, attending industry events like cruise launches and christenings.
I also share what I know constantly with MTA members to ensure they have up-to-date knowledge and information for their businesses to grow.
It’s coming up to an exciting 10 years for me at Mobile Travel Agents and I am certainly looking forward to using my long service to continue exploring to the world.
2. How did you start out in your career? Were you always destined to work in the travel industry?
My career started by following my mother’s footsteps as a hairdresser then an accounts clerk for NRMA, always lunching with the travel agents.
Listening to their stories and travel adventures was so fascinating and before I knew it I was in the travel industry, starting my career in the late 1970s.
3. Did you complete formal qualifications, and do you think they are important?
I started with no formal travel qualifications, and now with my 35+ years in the travel industry I have come to learn the importance of ongoing training and day-to-day experiences. Formal qualifications may not be so important as sharing knowledge, as I do continually with our MTA members.
This industry is forever changing and growing; you always need to be up to date and in the know or you’ll get left behind.
4. What do you love about your job?
My passion for cruise. I love helping our MTA members and seeing their cruise business grow — it’s a very rewarding position.
I also love having the opportunity to travel and cruise the world — I’ve been to South America, the Galapagos, Asia, New Zealand, Europe, the US just to name a few!
5. What were some of the greatest challenges you’ve had in your career?
Balancing life as a mum and wife all with an evolving career. Organisational skills, patience, passion and drive have definitely helped!
6. What factors were central to your success?
My ability to relate to people and certainly my gift of the gab has helped!
7. Did you have a mentor, and if so, how did you find them?
No, though I’ve had influence from role models which have made an impact. If you do what you love, people with similar interests and values follow.
8. What are the keys to good business?
Understanding the industry, exceptional customer service skills and knowledge so you can ensure you fulfil the client needs to ensure client loyalty. With this you can overcome any obstacle, and ensure you have a happy and healthy environment around your business.
9. What advice would you give to others in the industry who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Listen, learn and keep learning. Be patient, share your knowledge and then get lots of practice and experience as much product and travel you can fit in!