The world is reopening, people are returning to international travel and Collette is preparing for the boom. Jake Hilbert has recently joined the team as BDM to assist in the #ArrivalRevival. We caught up with Jake to find out more about his transition to the company.
Jake Hilbert, or Jakey as he’s often known, has been travelling since he was young and at 19 took off on his first solo journey to Europe. He says everything since that then has felt like one long, epic gap year.
Over the years Jake has lived in Vancouver, London, Sydney and now calls Melbourne home, where he has recently stepped into a BDM role with touring company, Collette.
We sat down with Jake to find out more about him and his work history, why he was drawn to join the company and what he wants travel advisors to know, during this pivotal time.
How did you first get into the travel industry?
When I was 21 I went on a proper gap year and came home after 12-months of exploring North America and Europe with -$70 in my bank account and the best memories I could ever have hoped for.
Once I’d gotten over the jetlag I went to thank my Travel Advisor (shout-out to Jess), and she introduced me to her Team Leader who suggested I fill out an application form and try my luck working in travel, the rest of my career has kind of snowballed from there!
What’s been your career path and what have you learnt working in travel?
I’ve spent the past decade working in the travel industry in roles ranging from a Travel Advisor to a Trip Leader in the UK and Europe and working in marketing and business development/sales roles.
My most recent role saw me take a brief step out of the industry where I worked as a BDM for a start-up brewery based here in Melbourne for the past eight months, however, it taught me that there truly is something that I do love more than beer and that’s travel!
Prior to that, I was the G Adventures BDM for four and half years primarily working with industry partners in Northern NSW. My time at G taught me all about group travel and the importance customers place on
sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
What inspired you to want to join the Collette team?
I really wanted to join the team at Collette after talking to the people. I know that’s something that people say a lot, but for me, it’s the resounding truth. I was blown away by the passion each person I met had for not only Collette and the industry but also for our guests and our destinations – especially after two years of working through a pandemic.
Each person in every interview said to me that I was interviewing them and Collette just as much as they were interviewing me.
I could see how much value they placed in their team and I was really excited to become a part of the Collette family where people and partnerships are so highly valued.
What are you most looking forward to about working with Collette?
I am so excited to get out on the road again and to start working with our agency partners, especially on consumer events, marketing opportunities and of course groups!
Heading a little further than home, I’m looking forward to working with our colleagues across the world and the opportunities that Collette provides to shadow other BDM’s outside of our local market to see how things are done elsewhere.
What do you feel are your key strengths for your new BDM role?
You can stalk my LinkedIn if you like, but I guess on a personal level I’d say it’s my relationships. Being in the industry for a decade means I’ve gotten to know some incredible people across a lot of different brands and I’m usually one of the first to put my hand up to collaborate with anyone willing to give it a go.
I’ve also just finished my MBA at Victoria University so I’m pretty good at strategy creation and implementation as well as people management and marketing, just don’t ask me how I passed Financial Analysis, the maths still gives me nightmares!
What message do you have for travel advisors right now?
You made it through a pandemic, you all deserve a parade and a national holiday in my eyes. I would say the market has never been this excited and ready to put money down, so be prepared for a massive year.
I’m looking forward to being a part of the rebuild with you.
What is your vision for your new role, moving forward?
Ideally, I want to be the person that comes to mind whenever a customer mentions group travel.
It’s my job to be a business partner for our agencies but on a deeper level to also understand what our partner’s goals are and how Collette can help them to be achieved.
For me it’s all about relationships, so you’ll likely find me spending the next year having a lot of getting to know you chats.
My vision is to have a phone full of selfies with our partners and their dogs, their kids, and their achievements by the end of the year.
What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry?
Other than the sheer volume of networking events (I do love any opportunity to have a drink and a chat), I’d say it’s the people.
The travel industry is made up of the best and the brightest out there; people who love to both work and play hard and who do it for the passion that they have for the industry and because they want to help make a positive impact on people’s lives through travel.
If you could travel anywhere, with the click of a finger, where would you go first and why?
I’d be clicking my way straight to my favourite pub back in London with a pint in one hand and a packet of Monster Munch in the other catching up with my best mates!
Whilst I’m over there I’d also be pretty keen to jump onto one of our Shade’s of Ireland departures, a kiss of the Blarney Stone would be sure to bring some good luck to the new job.
For more information visit www.gocollette.com
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