As a travel agent I was always a big Falcon Holidays supporter so I was delighted to get the opportunity to meet the new Head of Falcon in Ireland, Chris Logan.
Born in Edinburgh, Chris spent more than eight years as a management consultant for Accenture before deciding to change direction and join the travel industry. He was the general manager of groups and weddings in TUI before moving to the customer operations division as head of property and portfolio change. I felt to date his curriculum vitae ‘shouted’ the word change but he assured me that he had no plans for big changes in Ireland. He feels “privileged” to have been appointed to this role and appreciative that he has inherited a business “in such great shape”.
Chris wants to build on what he says “Falcon is already good at”. He wants to use his three years’ experience in customer relations to “enhance the customer journey” and feels that the combination of a great team with local knowledge and the large TUI organisation gives Falcon “the best of both worlds”.
The representatives in the resorts now using iPads is just one example of how big business can complement the successful business that Falcon Ireland has become. There are plans to launch new routes for 2016 but his lips were sealed so we will have to wait and see where… It was good to hear that decisions of this magnitude are made by the management team in Dublin and not by TUI UK. Chris made sure to point out that all decisions for the Irish market, however big or small, are made in Dublin, something that surprised me.
He talks regularly with the management team of Antoinette, Charlotte, Claire and Sylvia and he values the wealth of experience that they bring to the business. I get the impression that he lets them take responsibility for their individual roles without too much interference from him. He is enjoying what he calls “good pressure” and feels, although he needs to maintain the strong business, it is somewhat easier than if he had come in at a stage when he had to massively improve things. Asking him if he feels pressure about late sales or if the Greek bailout in June causes instability, Chris mentioned that he doesn’t worry about anything that is outside of his control – a motto that I think we should all live by!
The plan to enhance the customer experience includes a new website for the Irish market. Chris assured me though that this was not a change of strategy but merely a way of improving the technology that is already there, something that Chris has been involved with in his other roles at TUI. I asked him did he expect to make any changes to online discounts, something as a travel agent I was always passionate about and, while he has no plans to reduce them, he assured me that they would not be increased either…
Travel agents will be happy to hear that Chris has a passion for retail. He is looking forward to meeting everyone in the trade and is delighted at the welcome he has received so far. He feels that he has “not only been building relationships but friendships as well”. He loves the intimacy of the Irish travel trade and its personal approach. He understands the need to call into travel shops and meet staff and customers, to get a feel for the Irish market and get first-hand feedback from those in the trenches.
Chris is most definitely a family man. He manages to find the time during his busy schedule to bring his children (six-year-old twins and a seven-year-old!) to gymnastics and rugby and the numerous parties that children go to at weekends! “Having kids puts things in perspective” said Chris and they enable him to ‘switch off’, which he appreciates. Pictures of his three children take pride of place on his desk and he looks forward to their annual family holiday in Majorca. He enjoys all inclusive resorts with children’s clubs – “the kids love it and it gives me time to relax too”.
He also loves skiing and an odd rugby weekend with the lads. As a teenager he was in a band and says if he had the luxury to choose another career path that would be it! He has been known to sit in the corner of his local pub, guitar in hand, singing cover songs!
Chris has passed the transition period and is now enjoying the stability of three full days each week in Ireland. He is somewhat of an exercise junkie and loves a challenge, so he has decided to take part in the 100 mile in a day London road cycle in August. He has already been running along Sandymount beach and has recently bought a bicycle here – so I think it is fair to say Chris has settled in by now! No doubt we will hear him sing and play classic U2 or Van Morrison at the next travel event he attends, something I am definitely looking forward to hearing…
Diet or Exercise – Exercise (surprise surprise!)
Beer or Wine – Beer
Celtic or Rangers – Neither (a Hearts fan)
Dine in or Dine out – Dine in
Long-haul or Short-haul – Short-haul
Beach or Pool – Beach
Adventure or Relaxation – Adventure
Porsche or Range Rover – Range Rover