Margot Dow, Emily Johnson Margot Dow, Emily Johnson

Tip for agents: Stay on top of share economy and other innovations

A need to keep up with the fast changing business environment has been identified as a crucial factor if travel agents wish to remain relevant and successful. Margot Dow, who is a finalist in the best Travel Agency Manager – Corporate category of the upcoming National Travel Industry Awards, says it is critical for the industry to keep well informed on products such as Uber and Airbnb.’

‘This means we are best placed to give educated advice on how clients can incorporate and manage these share economy services - the risks and legal implications.’ Wellington-based Dow, of APX Travel Management, says a key challenge for a corporate travel agency is the integration piece – ensuring products chosen are offering the best solution for the customer’s specific requirements. ‘There is a greater focus than ever before on technology and innovation, particularly in regards to mobile devices and expense management solutions.’ Dow says keys to success in a travel management company include energy, a strong work ethic, resilience, teamwork and a sense of humour. She says she enjoys the challenge of the industry. ‘No two days are ever the same. Travel is a dynamic industry filled with hard working individuals who embrace change, and best of all we have a lot of fun along the way.’ Emily Johnson, House of Travel Whangarei, is in the running for the Best Rookie of the Year title. She entered the travel industry as a leisure consultant two years ago, with no previous training or experience, after taking the plunge and leaving her ‘safe place’ at an accountancy firm for seven and a half years. ‘A few of my tips for success would be to know your point of difference as a consultant and be confident, build a strong rapport from the first point of contact and listen to your clients and provide them with what they are after.’ She says travel consultants don’t know what part of the world they will be taken to – which makes it exciting. ‘The best holidays are created together and I love that I am able to help my clients plan a holiday to best suit their needs. ‘Hearing all the memories clients have made while they are away really shows that I am doing my job well and gives me huge satisfaction.’ • This is the second of our series interviewing finalists in the upcoming NTIA.