Helloworld CEO and Managing Director Andrew Burnes declared this year’s Owner Mangers Conference on the Gold Coast as the “The biggest and best ever” in his opening address.

This years ‘mega’ conference which began on Wednesday evening and ended on Saturday evening, was the groups largest in its three year history, with 700 plus helloworld Travel branded, non branded and business Owner Managers and suppliers in attendance together for the first time.

Read all about it and just what surprise delegate Jimmy Barnes got up to here.

Here’s our top take outs from key initiatives the helloworld Travel chief shared with the group.

 

1. ‘The Travel Professionals’ are back!

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The new press campaign ads

The once iconic Harvey World Travel brand successfully traded off ‘The Travel Professionals’ tagline and positioning for decades before former CEO Rob Gurney and The Boston Consulting Group came in and promptly declared it ‘not cool’ anymore.

Three years on since the helloworld brand was launched, the tagline ‘Experts in everywhere’ has also been and gone and ‘The Travel Professionals’ has been salvaged and re-instated as the new tagline of choice for helloworld Travel with a re-jigged logo and same, same jingle to boot.

Adding the word ‘Travel’ back into the helloworld name for both the leisure and business arms makes a lot of sense and is a decision that is clearly a popular one with members, with some commenting that customers often frustratingly still come into their stores to ask “What they actually do in here?”

The jury is still out on the jingle though for many as it may take some time to get used to hearing “We’re helloworld Travel, we’re the Travel Professionals” again versus the old “We’re Harvey World Travel” etc.

Listen again. It’s so subtle you almost miss it.

However, it could actually be stroke of marketing genius because if you head online to harveyworld.com.au – guess where you end up?

To springboard the new positioning, the group launched their largest co-op campaign ever over the weekend with partner APT, featuring nationwide TV ads, press, radio, e-mail and Social media with Burnes adding that “Helloworld Travel are committing to much more budget spend to TV ads” in the coming months.

 

2. Refreshed stores to be paid for by helloworld

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The store mock up was packed all weekend

A consistent new look means that the stores will also need to be updated with new logos, signage and the introduction of the new brand colour – red.

The addition of red as a key brand colour Burnes stated was “Simply to help our brand stand out more. We tested and researched it and that red was the conclusion we came to as being the strongest choice.”

Best of all, Burnes confirmed the group will be paying for the refreshed look and feel for all stores in terms of signage, decals and other brand assets that will require changing over a twelve month roll out period.

Throughout the conference, attendees got to experience the new brand and store updates for themselves first hand with a full sized mock store set up in the networking area, which seemed a hit.

Jokingly Burnes remarked that members will soon be “Seeing me turn up with a red paint tin.” Rumours are afoot that Bunnings Warehouse shares have already skyrocketed.

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A physical new local store marketing Kit made up of printed material and digital and print templates in a folder is now also available to members to help them create more of a buzz locally.

 

3. A sharper remuneration model for all

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Executive Director and Head of Wholesale & Inbound, Cinzia Burnes

The previous annual remuneration model Burnes said, “was dumb.” Adding that, “It was confusing, opaque, inconsistent and lacked motivation.”

So instead, there’s a much more attractive new model, which aims to “increase each stores revenue by 50% in FY18 based on an example of $3m TTV, 85% in preferred supplier sales and $1.2m in-house wholesale sales per store.”

Naturally a big part of the new approach is to further push in-house supplier product. A point of which, Executive Director and Head of Wholesale & Inbound, Cinzia Burnes emphasised in her presentation on Saturday morning to the group.

There was also news of two new preferred travel insurance deals, with the existing Covermore deal to end on June 30 and be replaced by a new one and the addition of a brand new Suresave deal from 1 July.

 

4. The digital revolution continues

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The updated helloworld.com.au which went live at Conference

A revamped helloworld.com.au went live during the conference with enhancements including one-way flights, more cruise information and ‘click to call an agent’ functionality.

Speaking about the new digital strategy, Burnes said “We’re adopting technology in our business, but the heart of the business is still our people. People still want human interaction.”

Whereas OTA’s (Online Travel Agents) Burnes said, “Are still only trying to get you to hit the red button and buy.”

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The new helloworld ‘Translate’ App

There was also news of new white labelled websites that will be available to all stores and an app including the booking engine as well as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) and a CMS (Content Management System) so stores can load their own content.

A Google Translate style helloworld Travel app is also soon to be launched which will translate 28 languages into English for helloworld travellers. The app will also be able to feed through travel deals to customers that agents can gain commission on bookings from.

 

5. 25% business stake offer updated

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Updating the ‘25% buy in’ offer that was presented to members in Singapore in late October last year, Burnes announced that a new Co-Investment kit is now available to any store or office owner still interested in formally becoming a business partner with helloworld Travel.

Members can trade 25% of their business shares for the equivalent in helloworld Limited (HLO) shares.

 

6. The helloworld evolution continues

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The brand portfolio today

It’s only been 8 months since the groups last Owner Managers Conference in Singapore, but already it seems so much has changed. And if you ask most helloworld Members they’ll say it’s for the commercial good.

In his Singapore presentation, Burnes declared that the groups mission, “Is to give you the tools to run the best retail travel agency businesses you can be”. Adding that, “We want to be the best multi-channel travel distribution business in the world”.

To close his presentation this time, Burnes highlighted the strength of the group, saying, “We are a very successful business so let’s not shy away from it. Let’s celebrate it.”

What do you think about the updates? Share your thoughts below.