Lynaire Monnery recalls at the age of 15 seeing Twiggy, the Hertz Rental sales agent on TV. ‘I knew I wanted to be her. I walked the streets and cold called Hertz, Budget and Avis while still at school.’ She recalls Dave Parry from Avis taking one look at the school uniform she was wearing and saying he would give her a job when she finished school. ‘I went back to him and he delivered on his promise. ‘I loved that job – 18 months of fun - until I hired a car to a bloke who robbed an ANZ Bank on Lambton Quay. Things were never the same after that. I then had a stroke of luck and applied to get a job at Traveland Porirua. Within eight months I was managing the shop, it was a great learning curve as I was only 19.’
Monnery went to London for two and a half years and worked in a wholesale airfare company in Earls Court. After that she was introduced to the Flight Centre management team in Australia via verbal recommendation as being the right person to head their NZ operation. She remembers being interviewed on a park bench in Lower Hutt with Scroo Turner and Geoff Harris. ‘I secured the job and not only painted and prepared, but also opened the first Flight Centre Wellington store in June 1988.’ Monnery employed Sue Matson ‘who wanted the job as much as I wanted her. For the next few years she was setting up shops throughout New Zealand, retaining the top consultant title for NZ and taking second and third spot in the world and ‘loving what I did’. Marriage and children encouraged her to work from home – something she is still doing 23 years later.
Monnery says she is still loving what she does but concedes it is hard work. ‘The internet is a pest and people are no longer as loyal as they were. You just have to go the extra mile and make the difference – people will happily pay for service and my motto is ‘my friends become my clients and my clients become my friends’ – it’s simple. ‘Follow up every client, offer individual ideas and suggestions to make their holiday a lifetime experience and genuinely care – call them to say bon voyage, call them to say welcome home and make them feel they really matter in your world, it’s not rocket science.’ • See next Tuesday’s TRAVELinc Memo for part 2 when we catch up with Sue Matson