Today’s Dublin conference of Travel Centres owners and managers, held in the Clarion Hotel, IFSC, was well attended with 45 delegates being inspired by marathon runner Gerry Duffy’s motivational presentation and queuing up to buy signed copies of his latest book, ‘Who Dares, Runs’.
Other speakers at the event, which was sponsored by One Stop Touring Shop, included Alan Richardson of the Commission for Aviation Regulation, and representatives of Micros and Praxis Now.
“For many years now,” Gerry told his audience, I have been following Carl Lewis’s three steps to goal setting: 1. Determine what you want to achieve; 2. Establish the price that has to be paid; and 3. Pay the price.” This he certainly did when, after two years’ planning and backed by a crew of 16 and 2,500 helpers, he ran 32 marathons on 32 consecutive days and raised €504,000 for charity.
“Three or four months ago,” he said, “I went into a Dublin travel agency I knew and picked up a brochure – but after waiting five minutes no-one had even acknowledged my presence. So I left, went into a nearby travel agency that I did not know and bought a holiday for €1,000. I will never go back to the first agency – which did not even have a notepad on which I could leave my email or phone number. Customer service is what business is all about – and it is so easy for you and your staff to be nice to people.
“The number one reason for business failures is lack of new ideas. People in Ireland are still taking holidays – indeed, there are now 900,000 more consumers that 23 years ago when I first started working for Darach Culligan.
“Your future will, to a great extent, depend on developing secondary, niche holiday markets. Ten years ago I asked Martin Skelly what he was interested in and he replied playing bridge and walking – and now overseas bridge and walking holidays are a prominent part of his business.
“There are 200,000 adult runners in Ireland – but only one travel agency specialises in overseas marathons. Again, no-one as yet packages trips to the US Golf Masters, for example.”
Conference speaker Gerry Duffy with Bernie and Dominic Burke of Travel Centres.