Say hello to the people of the industry who’ve chosen to work in ‘travel for life’. They’re ultra passionate folks who continue to inspire others by going above and beyond in their everyday roles.
This week we catch up with Gary Reichenberg, Director and Founder of CT Connections Travel Group who makes sure his team always feel comfortable sharing ideas, connecting with and inspiring each other daily to achieve their goals.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR ROLE?
Make sure I have the right people in the rights roles and that I let them do their job – you don’t get a dog and bark yourself after all! I see my role as threefold, starting with setting the mid-to-long term strategic direction for the group.
Secondly, it’s important to ensure the culture is strong, inclusive and one where all team members contribute as well as ensuring there’s alignment and cohesion amongst the various business functions.
The third aspect is connecting and interacting with our three stakeholder groups – staff, clients and suppliers – on a regular basis to make sure we are listening to all their needs.
HOW HAVE YOU GOTTEN TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
Ready for the clichés? A true (actual) open-door policy, teamwork, being available and listening! I’m fortunate to have been supported so well and work with teams that are aligned in values and principles. That’s closely followed by hard work, persistence, a never-give-up attitude and by doing the right thing… always.
HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THE INDUSTRY CHANGE IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS?
Technology has played a disruptive role over the past three to four years but in the past 12 months, there has definitely been a desire by clients (corporate, personal leisure and MICE) to engage more with highly experienced, well-credentialed value-adding advisors.
We are humans, after all, and humans are hard-wired to “connect” with each other. AI by its very definition is “artificial”. Another cliché but people really do like to do business with people.
WHAT TRENDS CAN YOU SHARE WITH OUR READERS THAT WILL HELP THEM?
There is a trend towards mixing business with pleasure travel where possible. Business travel is tiring for both the traveller and associated family members, so if you are able to enjoy some aspect of the business trip by visiting a museum, a good restaurant, laneway tour or the like, it enhances the experience and enriches your soul.
WHO INSPIRES YOU IN THE INDUSTRY?
The many colleagues I work with every day, who go home after work and think about the business and how we can improve. The same people who care about the client connections, and who go above and beyond each and every day to enhance our client experience.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE INDUSTRY IN 3-5 YEARS?
I would like to see a Travel Industry where we embrace new technologies but don’t lose the personal ‘connections’ that make the industry fun to be in! I tend to think the dye is already cast and it’s rolling out before our very eyes.
There will be a greater impact by true advisors who are adding value to trips. That’s integral to what we’re all about.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE AN INDUSTRY NEWBIE?
Immerse yourself in the opportunity. The world is a large place incredibly rich in diversity and culture. Make the most of aligning your social conscience with the diverse opportunity you are afforded in our industry.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY?
The richness of diversity. So many ‘talk’ about diversity and inclusiveness yet we just get on with it. We have over 22 nationalities in our business of 140 staff. Travel enriches my life, my perspective and it nourishes my soul.
WE HEAR THAT YOU MOVED TO A NEW OFFICE IN SYDNEY. TELL US MORE…
Indeed! The CT Connections Travel Group’s Sydney team recently relocated to The Hub Hyde Park in Liverpool Street, allowing for further expansion as the company continues to grow in New South Wales.
This modern space sits within a beautifully restored heritage building that provides The CT Connections Travel Group team with an improved, state-of-the-art workspace to facilitate internal and external collaboration and communication while providing the company with more room for growth.
We look forward to uncovering areas of further enhanced service levels and implementing greater efficiencies for our NSW clients and partners from our new location.
HOW HAS WORKING IN TRAVEL CHANGED YOU?
Working in travel made me realise that strangers are friends waiting to happen. Travel and the travel industry thrive on ‘connections’ – making new friends and sustaining existing ones.
Even as a company we believe that ‘Every Connection Counts’. We are part of a wonderful industry and we are all striving to bring the world closer, one connection at a time.
HOW CAN WE AS AN INDUSTRY “TRAVEL TO CHANGE THE WORLD”?
Travel to experience and not just check off the bucket list. We must connect with the locals, respect and adhere to the expectations of the place.
When we participate in the culture of the land and give back to the communities we visit, we are creating a reciprocating relationship as caring individuals and not annoying tourists.
Travel is a privilege and an education. We can change ourselves by emulating the good we see in the world and the world will change with us.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL APP?
For me, it is TripCase. TripCase is an itinerary management mobile app that gives travellers a single place to manage and organise their trips.
For example, clients’ bookings made through the CT Connections Travel Group can be visible on their TripCase app and can be set up to send notifications for flight delays, gate changes, and other info as their trip is happening.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TRIP/MOST EYE-OPENING THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN ON YOUR TRAVELS?
I have been blessed in so many ways with so many experiences but in recent times I was fortunate to watch the Bolshoi Ballet in St Petersburg perform Swan Lake. Now that’s a bucket list item I am proud to have ticked off.
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE ON ANY BUDGET, WHERE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Water is my serenity so a cruise along the Mediterranean, or Alaskan waters, or the Baltic Sea, or the Kimberley… actually, don’t ask me this question, it’s too unfair to choose just one!
- JOB!: WANT TO EARN SOME EXTRA CASH? A flexible part-time role that suits you!
- JOB!: UP FOR YOUR NEXT CHALLENGE? This BDM role is calling your name
- JOB!: LOVE EVERYTHING LATIN? Share your passion with this fantastic opportunity
Do you know Gary along your journey through the travel industry?
Want to get involved too? Drop us a line here and let’s introduce you to the wider world of travel.
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