Though Dixon started her career at Russell and Somers in Petone and is leaving Expedia TAAP / Discover the World today after seven years, most of her time in between was spent with a number of carriers. There was NAC from the mid-70s, then Pan American (with sales manager Richard Elliot, Dave Barlow and country manager the late Dave Morgan), United Airlines (with Wayne Dodge), Thai Airways (Ian Peddie), and Qantas.
Of course there were many other colleagues – too many to list here. ‘When I started, there was no such thing as a CRS / GDS system. At NAC I used to climb a ladder to change the status on the board and we relied heavily on the Telex machine.’ Dixon says she was with Pan Am for about nine months before the airline got a CRS. ‘We thought it was out of this world.’
The role with Expedia TAAP (which she helped Chris Jones roll out in this market in 2011) has also put Dixon at the forefront of change and innovation in the industry. ‘This is technology – you have to change and adapt – and Expedia TAAP has gone from success to success. It has been driven to a certain extent by customer demand but the agents have now embraced it.’
Dixon is now having a lifestyle change (don’t use the word retirement) but hopes to keep her hand in the travel industry one way or another. She sees a good future for the sector but also identifies key challenges. ‘I think finding and retaining staff with the right skills and attitude is paramount. It comes down to education and training so it is important to not only go to destinations but also attend supplier evenings and other events to always improve your knowledge. ‘Empowerment is a big word and one I totally agree with. It enables staff to have confidence and enthusiasm.’