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

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

A star-studded line-up and an array of special guests helped Travel Counsellors celebrate another successful year at the company’s annual conference, which took place in Telford International Centre recently.

Irish Travel Counsellors get into the spirit at the American Diner on the welcome night of the conference

Irish Travel Counsellors get into the spirit at the American Diner on the welcome night of the conference

The event was underpinned throughout by the theme ‘Switch On’, which highlighted the weekend’s 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.

Delegates arrived to a quirky American Diner-themed welcome bash on Friday evening, where they enjoyed US-inspired cuisine, as well as trying their hand at air hockey, basketball hoops, rodeo, and – the highlight of the night – a pre-dinner performance by The Jersey Boys and a highly entertaining performance after dinner from renowned Welsh comedian Rob Brydon.

The 1,100 delegates included over 500 of the company’s Travel Counsellors, with agents from its overseas operations in Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, South Africa, Canada and Dubai, plus agent partners, head office staff and suppliers’ partners.

All dressed up for the Gala Night – some of the Irish contingent at the Global Travel Counsellors Conference

All dressed up for the Gala Night – some of the Irish contingent at the Global Travel Counsellors Conference

Over the course of the weekend the company welcomed special guest speakers including renowned businesswoman and apprentice star Karen Brady, who gave a unique and powerful insight into her rise to success and the key ingredients to achieving your business goals. There was also an awe-inspiring and highly motivational presentation from entrepreneur and ‘professional adventurer’ Debra Searle, who spoke of her incredible journey as she single handily rowed across the Atlantic Ocean against all odds, highlighting how we can overcome obstacles, both personally and professionally, to achieve success.

After a day of business sessions from the company’s senior management and guest speakers, attendees were wowed at Saturday evening’s ‘Oriental inspired’ Gala Dinner and awards ceremony, with the finale of the night – a roof-raising performance from chart topping boy band McFly.

Travel Counsellors founder and Chairman David Speakman 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. It’s not about the ‘what’, it’s about the ‘how’ – emotion and caring is the future for the travel industry and it’s what you do best.

“Over the past 20 years we have adapted to change but always remained at our heart a business based on relationships. Technology is taking over the ‘what’, but it’s about how you deliver and create value in your service, as you don’t sell the product, you sell yourselves. As long as companies can ‘switch on’ to this customer-focused way of doing business they will be successful.”

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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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