By KARRYON @karryontravel02 Jan 2018You Travel Agents go on so many famils and attend so many events that we’ve had to create a whole new section dedicated to your awesome adventures. Check out what consultants got up to over the last seven days below, including a recent Star Wars session with Visit California or click here to check out last week’s pics and snaps. 1. Agents wield their lightsabers for California Only a few hours after the first ever Qantas Dreamliner left Melbourne to cross the Pacific to LAX, Visit California continued the celebrations by hosting a special Club California screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Club California are Visit California’s Agent training events, usually paired with a cinema film screening. Over 80 Melbourne-based Qgents attended the event which included an exclusive screening of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, training presentations, activities and prizes. Prior to the film screening, agents were treated to an interactive Hollywood style red carpet event, complete with paparazzi, make up stations and a photo booth. Visit California Trade Manager, Melanie Mayer provided destination training along with representatives from Santa Monica Travel & Tourism, Visit West Hollywood, Disney Destinations, Simon Shopping Destinations and Discover Los Angeles. Two Agents then had to battle it out for an Apple watch by doing their best lightsaber battle impression. The Club California events are a great way to update the frontline about what’s new in California and also to highlight Visit California’s digital training platform California STAR. 2. TravelManagers state meetings end 2017 on a high TravelManagers state meetings involving personal travel managers (PTMs), representatives from national partnership office (NPO) and partner suppliers are an important and much-enjoyed aspect of the TravelManagers business model, allowing attendees to discuss future initiatives and reflect upon the successes and learnings of the previous months. 2018’s final round of state meetings, which have just been held in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, were infused with Christmas atmosphere, lots of positivity and plenty of fun. PTM Lyndall Hewitt, representative for North Fremantle, says she loves attending the state conference as it’s a more relaxed way to hear about the updates NPO are working on. “There’s always something great in the pipeline,” she explains, “but the most important part of the day for me is strengthening my relationships with NPO and the other WA-based PTMs. This has always been the most invaluable thing for me as a PTM, right from my very first state meeting.” This view is shared by Hewitt’s colleagues, including Tanya Barker, who is representative for Narre Warren South in Victoria. “The state meetings are well-organised events that are valuable to my business. They provide up-to-date information on what’s happening in the company, and there are always exciting updates, sharing of information, open-forum chats and the chance to get together and discuss our business going forward,” she says. “It’s also a great day to catch up with members of the NPO support team and fellow PTMs,” Barker adds. For some of the newer PTMs, this was their first experience of a state meeting. PTM Sarah Segal, representative for Wheelers Hill attended the Melbourne meeting, which was held at Crown Conference Centre, followed by lunch at The General Assembly. Segal found her first state meeting very informative and enjoyable saying “I’m already looking forward to the next one!” TravelManagers Executive General Manager Michael Gazal is proud that the total number of PTMs who have achieved five year awards with the company amounted to 46 this year. “There are now 208 PTMs in our network who have been with us for five years or more, which I think is a great endorsement for the strength of our business model and the spirit of cooperation that exists within TravelManagers,” he says. Gazal says the high attendance levels (50 percent of all PTMs attended one of the state meetings, along with 41 representatives from fifteen suppliers) is a reflection of the meetings’ perceived value, both within TravelManagers and by industry partners. This view is supported by the suppliers themselves. 3. SmartFlyer pops up in Sydney Last month, leading travel network SmartFlyer Australia curated the first of a series of pop up office spaces to bring together its independent travel advisors. Held in North Sydney, the pop up served as an information sharing initiative where colleagues met face-to-face to strategise and share knowledge. SmartFlyer Australia, part of The Goldman Travel Group, is a full-service network compromised of the ultimate travel collective. The team of 35 experienced advisors are home-based and specialise in luxury travel experiences. Up until this month, the network has operated without an office space. Anthony Goldman, Joint Managing Director of Goldman Group said: “There is a growing trend towards travel advisors wanting to work remotely and on their own terms. SmartFlyer Australia backed by the Goldman Group’s 35 years of industry expertise, connections and buying power enables trusted travel experts to service their clientele from the comfort of their home – it’s a win-win situation.” The remote advisor travel sector serves as a viable career option for those seeking flexibility in their work and wanting to achieve a greater work life balance. There are many Travel Agents who operate as sole proprietors, with ABS data showing growth of almost 50% (1966 to 2782 sole traders) over three years from 2012-13 to 2015-16, a positive indicator for agents considering the transition to become an at-home advisor. Gloria Gammo, one of SmartFlyer Australia’s advisors, said: “Working for a remote agency such as SmartFlyer Australia gives me greater flexibility in my working hours, allowing me to work around the demands of family life. The coming together of all the SmartFlyer Australia advisors last week has been a great opportunity to connect with my peers, share experiences and knowledge, and meet some of our key suppliers face-to-face to receive the most up-to-date product information.” Anthony Goldman says there is a demand for the use of travel agencies such as SmartFlyer Australia. “Our vast networks, industry relationships and extensive supply chain give our mobile team access to the very best premium travel products for their clients – enabling them to deliver completely bespoke holiday experiences each and every time. As a result, SmartFlyer Australia’s revenue has tripled in the last 12 months, with our current annual turnover at around $15 million and growing fast. We expect this growth to continue in 2018 and look forward to launching pop up offices in Melbourne as well as Sydney in the new year.” 4. Special Californian send-off for Qantas’ first Dreamliner guests Last month at Melbourne Airport, the first Qantas Dreamliner flight to cross the Pacific to Los Angeles was sent off in style by Visit California. The flight’s 236 passengers were surprised at the check-in counter with fun gifts and treats from a range of California destinations. Five Visit California partners joined the send-off, including Visit West Hollywood, Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, Discover Los Angeles / Los Angeles World Airports, Disney Destinations and Simon Shopping Destinations. Passengers were greeted by promotional staff giving out treats and taking selfies, dressed up as a West Hollywood movie star, a Santa Monica yogi, a Disney fan, a Los Angeles Dodgers player, a California roller girl, and a Simon Shopping shopaholic. Gifts for the passengers included Los Angeles Dodgers baseball caps, Santa Monica sunglasses, Mickey Mouse ears, West Hollywood eye masks, Jelly Belly jellybeans, and Ghirardelli chocolates. Before take-off, passengers took a group photo on board the plan wearing their Southern California gear, getting them in the mood for their trip to the Golden State. Prior to the inaugural flight, Qantas and Visit California held a joint launch celebration at Notel in Melbourne. Attendees included Visit California Director of Public Relations Jennifer Sweeney, Qantas International CEO Alison Webster, Australian model and Qantas trend consultant Jessica Hart and her model sister Ashley Hart, and chef Neil Perry. Hugh Sheridan and his band provided the entertainment with a new song about Australian dreamers living in LA and coming home. Have you taken any recent pics from a roadshow or famil? 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