By Richard Savva

The finalists are…

Those words can stop your heart as you wait to hear if you or your business has been shortlisted. Why do we put ourselves and our company through the anguish and potential disappointment of trying to win an award? Well it can be life changing. I know from first-hand experience.

Travel agencies need to have points of difference, play in niche areas and differentiate from other agencies. Otherwise you will just fight the price war. A lost cause in any industry.

One very important way to stand out is to be an award winning and peer recognised agency. I’ve had the honour of being an AFTA judge for the last two years and I can tell you that a number of agencies understand the importance of trying to win an award. The effort, time and desire some agencies put in is awesome. Being short-listed is a massive boost to their business.

And if they win, well prospective clients, current customers, employees, suppliers and new staff all take notice of a winning and successful company. It’s like in sport where success builds momentum and suddenly a small player feels ten feet tall and can take on the big boys!

Of course, you have to ensure the award or recognition you are going for is truly beneficial.

What are your goals and aspirations for your business? When I was at Voyager Travel, a boutique travel management company, our aim was to build a sustainable company and be involved in large corporate tenders. The team succeeded in winning ‘Best Travel Management Company’ in Australia at btTB for three years running and then when we built our own reporting technology we won ‘Best Travel Technology’.

All these awards and recognition allowed the company to be talked about, prospects engaged with us, employees were proud to work there, current clients felt vindicated in choosing us and also recruiting new staff was eased when they could see the company as a successful and award winning business. All with an extremely modest marketing budget.

So if you are looking to raise your business profile, retain clients and stand out from the crowd you really should look at relevant awards and recognition opportunities. Then go for them. Don’t think you haven’t the time or can go for them next year. Snoozers are losers, and the winner could be you.

Richard Savva is the director of Changing Times, and has led a boutique travel company to become the largest independent travel management company in Australia. With over 30 years’ travel industry experience, he now acts as mentor, business coach, subject matter expert & facilitator for the travel industry including corporate, airlines and hotels. Get in touch with him at [email protected] or visit

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