- How long have you been working with The Goldman Group?
I’ve lost count.
- Can you outline the advantages of working with a brand whose businesses encompass a range of travel segments, ie corporate travel, leisure travel, cruising?
Reflecting on my personal experience, I become loyal to a brand when I trust it. For me, trust is formed when a brand has a clear set of genuine values, and delivers a consistent, high-quality experience. Diversity is simply more opportunity for me to buy from who and what I love.
As a supplier, developing trust through consistency and quality becomes even more important. If we clearly know what our business partners value, we hold ourselves in account of delivering experiences that match the needs of our partners. As our partners work with us across different segments, we can systematically replicate what’s important to them. It becomes an organisational friendship.
- In your view, what are the most significant travel trends in the current Australian market? Do you believe they are likely to be short or long-term?
We are [rightfully] concerned about how our lifestyle choices (including travel) are impacting our world. Because of this, I see people preferencing travel brands that genuinely care for our world in some way, whether that’s the planet, or the people within it. I think this mindset will become increasingly popular as consumers look for more ways to be conscientious about their purchases.
I also see an increased desire to experience travel in totally immersive ways. Customers want to be in the centre of the action and feel a destination – not just see it. This thirst from customers to have authentic experiences when they travel keeps the industry on its toes with constant evolution, and I hope it continues!
- Despite popular perception, do you believe clients genuinely save money booking their own travel online versus using an experienced agent? Why, or why not?
Good travel agents not only have access to the same rates as other booking channels but can deliver compelling value well beyond cost saving. To me, it’s no different than taking my car to a mechanic, using a tax agent, or seeing a lawyer. I could risk it and attempt it myself, but I wouldn’t dare. Good travel agents are not only faster and more accurate but leverage their knowledge and contacts to deliver better overall value, and an elevated experience.
- Luxury travel, value for money, unique experiences and destinations? What are Australian travellers looking for in 2018?
We can buy travel in many ways, and there are many options. It can be confusing, overwhelming, and even seem impossible to decide. Even the most affluent customers want to know that they are getting the best value, going to the right hotel, or selecting the best itinerary. Above all else, I think Australians want peace of mind, knowing their money is well spent.
- What’s your hot destination tip for 2019?
Japan is very popular at the moment, and next year will be no exception with two global sporting events held in Tokyo in 2019 and 2020. There is so much to see and do in Japan, quite literally something for everyone. I would avoid the World Cup or Olympics, and visit off-peak. This keeps hotel rates more affordable, but still allows you to explore this culturally rich destination in all its glory.
- Describe your ideal holiday (and pretend you’re not paying)!!
Spending time with the people I love! I would visit my nieces, and then fly around the world visiting my closest friends and family. This is as complex as it sounds and would require a stop in Gold Coast, Auckland, Vancouver, Whistler, Seattle, Sao Paolo, London, Edinburgh, and Moscow. I’d also try and squeeze in a few days on the slopes, because I love to ski.
- With multi-generational travel a growing trend, which destinations are the most popular for family groups, and why?
I tend to notice families selecting single stop destinations to minimise travel time and maximize their holiday. Hawaii is consistently popular, as is Bali. New Zealand remains top of the list and offers so much for families.
- How are Australian travellers different from our counterparts overseas?
Australians tend to be sophisticated yet relaxed in their ideals around service and style. Whilst some people certainly appreciate the classic white-glove service, I notice Australians tend to enjoy design-led hotels that deliver distinctly good but informal service.
Australians also tend to have an adventurous streak. They seem willing to travel further, travel more often, and want to experience places they’ve not been to before. No distance seems too far, so we welcome Australians at almost all our hotels around the world.
- What’s your must-have travel accessory – that one thing you can’t leave home without?
My workout gear. Exercise helps me recover from jet lag, and ANYTHING that helps with jet-lag I’m 100% up for. I also find that a routine of fitness whilst I travel keeps me focused during business trips and helps with my energy when on vacation. It’s all about maximising my time.
- If you weren’t in travel, what would you be doing?
Most likely working in the fitness industry, my second passion! If I can find a way to do both I’d have it made.