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Travel Counsellors Tell Agents to ‘Switch On’ at Kilkenny Conference

Travel Counsellors Tell Agents to ‘Switch On’ at Kilkenny Conference

Travel Counsellors Ireland celebrated another hugely successful year at the company’s annual conference, which took place in Lyrath Estate & Spa in Kilkenny on 21st-22nd May. 

Travel Counsellors share their ‘light-bulb’ moments in the afternoon workshop session

Travel Counsellors share their ‘light-bulb’ moments in the afternoon workshop session

The event was underpinned throughout by the theme ‘Switch On’, which highlighted the focus on providing the company’s Travel Counsellors with the tools, knowledge, technology and strategy to switch on and continue to adapt to an ever-changing business environment.

The 120 delegates included over 50 of the company’s Travel Counsellors plus their partners, head office staff and business partners.

Travel Counsellors Donna Olohan, Sharon Kavanagh and Mandy Walsh

Travel Counsellors Donna Olohan, Sharon Kavanagh and Mandy Walsh

Over the course of the conference the company welcomed a special guest speaker, renowned ‘32 Marathons in 32 days’ star Gerry Duffy, who gave a unique and powerful insight into his rise to success and the key ingredients to achieving your goals.

After a day of business sessions from the company’s senior management, delegates were wowed at Thursday evening’s gala dinner and awards ceremony, with entertainment by Retrospect and The Seducers.

Cathy Burke, Ireland General Manager, with Steve Byrne, Managing Director

Cathy Burke, Ireland General Manager, with Steve Byrne, Managing Director

Steve Byrne, Travel Counsellors’ Managing Director, told agents: “Technology is changing the future of travel. The rise of the Internet means customers can now do for themselves what they previously needed travel agents for. But companies need to understand that their products are less important than their stories. Over the past 20 years we have adapted to change but always remained at our heart a business based on relationships. As long as companies can ‘switch on’ to this customer focused way of doing business they will be successful.”

The event also saw a record number of over 40 of the company’s suppliers exhibiting at the special Pow Wow session, where agents were able to meet directly with representatives from a host of tourist boards, hotels and airlines, and learn more about their products and destinations. This included prestige sponsors Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Emirates, and Travelport.

Travel Counsellor Susan Hegarty and husband Gary Power at the Gala Dinner

Travel Counsellor Susan Hegarty and husband Gary Power at the Gala Dinner

New Travel Counsellor Susan Hegarty commented: “It’s great to be part of a company that has so many like-minded people. I must admit that when I initially heard about Travel Counsellors and the whole concept I knew I had to join – it wasn’t brave, it just had to be done! Thanks so much for making my first conference so memorable. I can only imagine the effort that you all put into getting everything just right and I have been inspired and learnt so much from the experience.”

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 52 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 42 years.

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