A finalist in the Best Rookie of the Year category of the Travel Agents Association of NZ National Travel Industry Awards, Christian notes that working in a travel management company (TMC) is a fast paced job which requires always taking on new challenges. ‘During emergency situations such as the Kaikoura earthquake, I was the first point of call and it was my job to make sure that my travellers got to where they needed to be.’ (Fittingly at the time of going to press Christian’s challenges were more around the aviation fuel crisis in Auckland.) The best part of my job is dealing with my clients – I have built great relationships with them both inside and outside of work. It really is the people that make the job.’ Bruce Blacklock, who is in the running for Best Travel Consultant – Retail, says specialising in two or three products and making them your point of difference is beneficial. ‘It is also important to know your clients, listen to them. Know your product, look for opportunities, and never doubt the power of exceptional customer service. Blacklock, director at Helloworld Lambton Quay and Helloworld St Heliers, says one of the biggest challenges currently is dealing with worldwide events and the impact they have on finding a dream holiday for clients. ‘And one of the opportunities I see is the power of social media and online advertising, and tapping into the Millennials.’ Blacklock started at Air New Zealand in 1992 and moved to Holiday Shoppe in 2001. He purchased the store in Lambton Quay in 2008 and has just purchased one in St Heliers. He has been named top consultant for the last three years for HLO.