At the First Travel Group Conference at Hilton Auckland over the weekend…John Willson, FTG; Florence Savelio, Infinity; Amy Davidson, FTG; Karen Babbington, Lifestyle; Ali Salmon, Malcolm MacLeod, FTG At the First Travel Group Conference at Hilton Auckland over the weekend…John Willson, FTG; Florence Savelio, Infinity; Amy Davidson, FTG; Karen Babbington, Lifestyle; Ali Salmon, Malcolm MacLeod, FTG

Industry needs to attract youth

With travel agents being valued by clients to a higher level than they have enjoyed for many years, the future for the industry looks bright, delegates at the weekend’s First Travel Conference heard from CEO Malcolm MacLeod.

He says disposable income among older generations, the continuing trend to prioritise travel experiences over material goods and the complex nature of the sector still all add to the worth of an agent.

However MacLeod also identifies challenges for the group and the sector as a whole – especially when it comes to injecting youth into the agency environment.

‘This is one of the biggest conferences we have had, which is particularly amazing when you consider that our workforce is down 30%. We are still trying to attract young staff and I think that is a challenge for the industry.’

He says the average age of head office and out on the field for FTG is about 48 years old.

‘It is good to have experience but we also need young people coming through.Then we need to find the time to train them. It is often easier for employers to get in someone experienced. It is a serious issue and we don’t want it to get any worse.’

The conference at the Hilton Auckland attracted almost 160 FTG delegates and also 60 plus representatives from more than 43 supplier companies. It included a Friday opening function sponsored by Qantas and an awards evening on Saturday night, plus a full day of business with a trade show and presentations.MacLeod says agents have adapted to new business conditions.

‘However, we still require significant support from suppliers and it is pleasing to see so much engagement from them at the conference.’

Award winners

The First Travel Conference wrapped up with a fun awards evening on Satruday night. Supreme Award winners were:

FTG Supreme Thrive Award - Growth Mindset: Mitchell Holland, Holland Clarke & Beatson; Team at Best Travel & Cruise; Team at YOU Travel Bethlehem.

FTG Supreme Thrive Award – Resilience: Nicola Preston, YOU Travel Mairangi Bay; Team at North Shore Business Travel; Team at YOU Travel Feilding.

FTG Supreme Thrive Award - Values & Culture: Alexandra O’Connell, Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel; Lydia Haydon, YOU Travel Bethlehem; Team at YOU Travel Ferrymead.

Air New Zealand Top Sales Growth Award 2023: North Shore Business Travel;

Air New Zealand Outstanding Achievement Award: Express Tickets Team;

Allianz Revenue Rainmaker Accolade Award, Pukekohe Travel;

Allianz Team Collaboration Award: The Private Travel Company;

Allianz Service Excellence Award: YOU Travel Bethlehem;

APT Travel Group Top Supporting Store: YOU Travel Manly;

Holland America - Top Sales: YOU Travel Bethlehem;

Carnival Corporation NZ Seabourn Top Sales: Cruise Connections;

Top Sales for Cathay Pacific: The Private Travel Company;                    

Cover More Top Individual Seller Recognition: Susie Cassels-Brown, North Shore Business Travel;

Top Cover More Agency YTD: YOU Travel Orewa;

Croatia Times Travel Emerging Agent of the Year: Loyal Holidays Travel;

Expedia TAAP Highest growth over the last 12 months: North Shore Business Travel;

Fiji Airways Top FJ Seller Award: Jeremy Shanahan, YOU Travel Takapuna;

Creative Cruising – Top Sales:  OU Bethlehem;

Lifestyle Holidays – Top Sales: Stars Travel Auckland;

Express Tickets – Top Sales, YOU Travel Feilding;

First Travel Group People's Choice Customer Service: Riana Shlemun;

Francis Travel Marketing Top Support Agency: Best Travel & Cruise;

Globus Family of Brands Top Achiever Award: Pukekohe Travel;

Hawaiian Airlines Recognition Award: Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel;

Infinity Top Overall Sales: YOU Travel Ferrymead;

Innovative Travel Company Award: Nicola Preston, YOU Travel Mairangi Bay;

Intrepid Most Improved: YOU Travel Orewa;

Lufthansa GroupTop Performing Agency for 2023: Fortis Travel;

Oceania Top Sales Award, Travel Connections;

Ponant and Paul Gauguin – 2022/23 Performance and Commitment to Growth: The Private Travel Company; 

Princess Cruises Top Seller Award: Pukekohe Travel;  

Qantas Top Performing Agency 2023: Fortis Travel;

Rail Europe Award for highest booking volume & % growth: Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel;

Scenic Group Top Sales Scenic Award: Gail Littin Pukekohe Travel;

Scenic Group Special Recognition & continued Support Award: Jeryl Bromley, YOU Waiheke;

Silversea Cruises Top Seller: North Shore Business Travel;

Singapore Airlines Award: Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel;

Top TTC Store, YOU Travel Bethlehem;

Total Holiday Options Top Seller Award: Kay Rogers, YOU Travel Bethlehem;

Total Holiday Options Award for Continued Support: Jeryl Bromley, You Travel Waiheke;

Total Holiday Options Most Improved Award: Katherine Madill, The Private Travel Company;

United Airlines Top Performer 2023: The Private Travel Company;

Viking Top Sales: You Travel Ferrymead;

Viking Top Growth: Pukekohe Travel;

Wild Earth Travel Special Recognition Award: Jim & Even Murphy, Pukekohe Travel;

World Journeys Superstar Award: YOU Travel Levin

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