by Bruce Piper

The long-running Qantas Holidays Global Achievers program is testament to the old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Last month the wholesaler and its brands, which also include Viva! Holidays, Rail Tickets, Ready Rooms and The Cruise Team, hosted several hundred enthusiastic travel agents and industry partners in Darwin for the 22nd annual Global Achievers gala dinner, and it was heartening to see that despite the rise of the internet, human relationships remain at the heart of our great industry.

Qantas Holidays National Sales Manager, Fiona Dalton, acknowledged the importance of connection which has run through the Global Achievers program, with top performers over the years “gathering to share experiences and create memories that have become part of the social fabric of our industry”. It was my 12th Global Achievers event, and I still remember the excitement of the first time I was invited, which was the 2004 gala dinner held on Hayman Island, hosted by Richard Wilkins and with rocker Jon Stevens wowing the crowd. Since then the program has travelled far and wide – to Fiji, Kota Kinabalu, Queenstown and even Disneyland California as well as closer to home – and while Global Achievers has evolved and the wholesaler’s partnerships have changed, the excitement and prestige of being a Global Achiever is definitely still there.

Dalton made the compelling point that in the end it is relationships that make the difference. “By working together we can continue to keep the market strong, and by working together we can continue to provide each other with the product, the tools and the support we both need to offer the Australian consumer a compelling alternative to online or the competition,” she told attendees.

And clearly the program continues to resonate with agents. The top achievers, in the elite “500 club” each sell a minimum of $500,000 worth of Qantas Holidays land product every year, and this year a new Cruise Achievers category was also introduced reflecting the increasing importance of cruise in the portfolio. The program is also a reflection of the 80/20 rule, with the wholesaler focusing on rewarding and motivating its top performers who clearly generate a significant chunk of its revenue.

It’s not just links between suppliers and travel agents – in an increasingly impersonal, transactional online world, people still crave connection, and the top achieving travel agents in Darwin are proof that consultants who focus on creating a relationship of trust with their clients can’t go wrong.

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