Knowledge and Experience: Meet the Faces of Goldman

In our Knowledge and Experience series, we dig into the DNA of the Goldman Travel Corporation – its people. This time, we’re chatting to General Manager, Corporate, Chris Cheyne, and Travel Advisor, Terrye Pepper-Hill, exploring why ‘service is the new black’ and what it really takes to raise the bar for corporate travel.

 Chris Cheyne, Group General Manager

What makes a great corporate travel advisor?

It is key to understand that a customer’s motives can be the total opposite to yours. For example, when a customer tells you their travel plans are “urgent”, yet they’re not actually travelling for a few months, it’s important to realise and respect that it’s urgent to them, and they may be juggling multiple diaries.  At Goldman, we recognise that, and respond to each request based on several metrics to ensure every customer enjoys a superior level of customer service.

What do you predict the next trend in corporate travel to be?

Greater pressure for airlines to continue blurring the lines between First and Business class; and implementing new products and initiatives to increase passengers’ comfort on longer journeys. With Qantas already operating Perth-London and looking to fly non-stop from Sydney to London and Sydney to New York in the next few years, demand for heightened on-board comfort will rise. Wellness travel is also on the rise, with more hotels and transport providers exploring how they can take better care of their customers – and customers are increasingly expecting these needs to be fulfilled.

 There’s a lot of chatter in the industry about online vs. agent and how “service is the new black” – why is delivering quality customer service paramount to you?

Anyone can book travel – it’s pretty simple. Whether you book via a website, online booking tool or travel agent, what was once a cryptic process, has been simplified thanks to technology and APIs, which allow aggregator websites to present a raft of information quickly.  In our view though, booking travel is not a transaction, it’s not like buying a product online. It’s a process of consultation, consideration, and presenting customers with a selection of tailor-made solutions…something that can only be done with a travel professional who can shortlist options, present the benefits and disadvantages of each option, and guide and empower customers to make informed, considered decisions. That, in a nutshell, is quality service.

 

Terrye Pepper-Hill, Travel Advisor

What makes a great corporate travel advisor?

A great corporate travel agent possesses insider knowledge gleaned from being at the forefront of their industry…and truly loving what we do. Professionalism is key, as is patience, and I always recommend servicing your customers with a smile – laughter always gets results faster!

 What do you predict the next trend in corporate travel to be?

I believe we’ll see the return of greater personalised service. While we’ve become a society of websites and online tools, customers are seeking more in-depth knowledge and quality service and advice, the type that’s only accessible through an experienced travel professional.

 There’s a lot of chatter in the industry about online vs. agent and how “service is the new black” – why is delivering quality customer service paramount to you?

Travel advisors – the best ahead of the rest! I feel the recipe for retaining customers through good customer service is pretty simple: for a long time, there was the common misconception that customers would pay if they booked travel with an advisor rather than doing it themselves. This is simply not the case, and more often than not customers expose themselves to unnecessary expenses. Industry professionals can individually tailor travel and incorporate value adds such as free breakfasts and upgrades which end up saving our customers money. Here at Goldman, our personalised service is what separates us from larger corporate travel providers.

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