Travel Counsellors plots journey

SIX months into the role of regional managing director at Travel Counsellors Australia and Kaylene Shuttlewood has undertaken a full review of the business and developed a strategic plan for “the year ahead and beyond”.

“We are on a continuous journey and always looking for improvement,” Shuttlewood told travelBulletin.

“It’s evident to me that there are some real opportunities in Australia and that is the core reason that I joined the business.”

Shuttlewood joined from Travelport, where she was managing director — Pacific for over three years.

She noted the Travel Counsellor philosophy and care culture were drawcards and said she had really enjoyed the “entrepreneurial operating environment and the empowerment of treating this business as my own”.

In June Travel Counsellors confirmed a secondary management buyout from private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, which Shuttlewood said secured the company’s future with “good solid funding”.

“We have investors who know travel, and have an appetite for technology enabled marketplaces,” she said.

Travel Counsellors is currently working to rebuild its head office team, to ensure it has the right people in the right roles by expanding the team and developing deeper skill sets.

“We’re also getting out on the road to run workshops and meeting with our Travel Counsellors and supplier partners around the country,” she added.

Shuttlewood said she was impressed with the level of support the company provides, recommending that agents considering a move to a home-based agency first assess what they are good at.

“Do you like administration, doing back-office work, chasing invoices, worrying about payment deadlines or would you rather be selling, liaising with customers and clients and supporting supplier partner events?”

Other key areas to assess include the support services on offer, what’s included, what’s on a user-pay basis, she said.

It’s also important to evaluate if the technology is set up to “enable you to do what you do best” and, if the agent has travel plans, “consider how your business can operate while you are away”.

“My role is to ensure we provide the right support, technology and a culture that is conducive to a more empowered, digitally and personally connected and trusted way of working,” Shuttlewood said.

 

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