Wendy van Leishout, APX Travel Management; Roderick (Griff) Griffith, Intrepid Group; Andrew Bowman, Wendy van Leishout, APX Travel Management; Roderick (Griff) Griffith, Intrepid Group; Andrew Bowman,

Awards give chance to reflect and take stock, say finalists

The finalists for the 2018 Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) were announced yesterday, and those in the running say the process gives them the chance to focus on their strengths (and challenges).


Wendy van Leishout, general manager at APX Travel Management, says the awards always present an opportunity to revisit processes and planning and to assess achievements over the prior year in relation to more than just the obvious metrics – like financials and profits. APX is one of the finalists in the Best Brand Corporate – Multi Location category and a number of APX offices and personnel also feature in the line-up. ‘The corporate travel sector continues to change rapidly, particularly as mobile and digital technology charge ahead. The corporate customer is becoming more and more savvy, with expectations of very personalised, customised, one to one service from a sector that has become highly automated,’ says van Leishout. ‘This presents both a challenge and a massive opportunity as travel management companies (TMCs) compete to stay ahead of the technology game, and to find niches to own. ‘Throw in some global trends like block-chain, artificial intelligence and gamification and there’s certainly plenty to keep us busy.’


Roderick (Griff) Giffith is in the running as Best Industry Representative and says his role as business development manager for Intrepid Group mainly involves helping travel agents sell the company’s product. ‘I act as a conduit between Intrepid and the retail travel agents – giving them the confidence and necessary means to match the appropriate trip with the people it would suit.’ Griffith says knowledge is paramount, delivered with passion and enthusiasm. ‘I love travelling with Intrepid group, hence when I recommend a trip it comes from the heart – not just because I am paid to do it.’ He says travellers are becoming more knowledgeable, which is a dual edged sword. ‘It helps to qualify where they wish to go. However it means that our knowledge of what is on offer must be greater than theirs. Otherwise we (BDMs and travel agents) become redundant.’


Andrew Bowman, TAANZ president, says the catch phrase for the association is ‘A higher standard’ and the awards a way to provide measurement around that statement. ‘I congratulate everyone who has been named a finalist. But I would also like to acknowledge the people who missed out this year and would encourage them to stick with it and try again in 2019. There is a fine line between just missing out and making the list of finalists.’ taanz.org.nz/ntia/ntia-finalists/


• See also yesterday’s One Minute Memo for earlier coverage. TRAVELinc is the official media sponsor of TAANZ NTIA and will be regularly bringing comments and thoughts from finalists in the lead up to the awards gala dinner.