Launching the Australian Travel Agent Barometer is an exciting project as the study will give some real insights into what the industry thinks on a range of important issues. The barometer kicks off this month and is the first time large scale independent research has been carried out in this way in many years. Changes in licensing legislation, consolidation of many retail brands under the Helloworld banner and the growth of internet based agents and suppliers are continuing impact on our industry. How agents are dealing with these changes will determine the future strength of their businesses.
I read many assumptions and hear lots of rumours about what people think but it’s vital to gain a truthful representation of the facts from a totally independent viewpoint. Also being able to develop a industry barometer that truly measures industry sentiment will be a useful tool to ensure more robust decision making from many decision making organisations in the industry.
When did you join the industry?
I joined Qantas as a reservations consultant in 1981 and studied part time. In those days, Qantas had 33 Aircraft, all 747’s and only flew internationally. Back then, people would smoke in the office and we worked a 24 hour shift.
What do you like about the industry?
Travel by its nature is always an adventure and rarely predictable, by travelling we open up our minds and actually get to live out our dreams of faraway places. Even a lifetime of continuous travel would never let us experience all the world has to offer. Our industry is exciting and always interesting when compared with other professions.
The travel industry is very much a people’s business and working with people in the industry be it suppliers other travel agents etc is the key to success.
Who would be role model in the travel Industry?
Skroo Turner would be a role model in the industry. He took calculated risks and developed a new model in the industry. Through his vision and disciplined execution of a plan, he has built an absolute powerhouse of success in Flight Centre.
The destination on my bucket list?
Nepal would be one for the bucket list. I love walking and have heard great things about trekking in Nepal.
What would you like to see improve in the industry?
The general confidence level in the industry needs to be strong, whilst many people love the industry there are not as many young people entering the retail industry as previously was the case. I would like to see stronger promotion of the role of travels agents and in the context of how they add value to the consumer and the basic supplier offer.
Most memorable travel experience.
Waiting to check in a remote airport in Africa only to discover the airline we had booked with had ceased to operate. We ended up hitching a ride with a number of bush pilots to get to our destination. It took a lot longer but it is an experience I will never forget.
The Three things I always take with me are?
1/ Clean undies
2/ Tooth brush
I would like to travel on a flight with one of the Wright Brothers and watch them marvel at the modern aircraft we have today. Or otherwise if they’re not available Robin Williams would be fun.
Simon Bernardi – Australian Travel Agents Barometer