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#travelforlife: Meet Director & Founder of Savenio, David Brandon

Say hello to the people of the industry who’ve chosen to work in ‘travel for life’ and who see the travel industry as one with massive growth. These are the ultra passionate, much-loved folk that continue to inspire others by going above and beyond in their everyday roles.

Say hello to the people of the industry who’ve chosen to work in ‘travel for life’ and who see the travel industry as one with massive growth. These are the ultra passionate, much-loved folk that continue to inspire others by going above and beyond in their everyday roles.

This week we catch up with the well known Director and Founder of Savenio, David Brandon. David shares how he started in the industry, what inspires him and a message to all industry newbies.


How did you get started in the travel industry?

I was an only child and growing up, my parents had a travel and real estate agency in my home town of Ayr in far north Queensland. It was a time when you needed a hard copy ticket to get anywhere and we were a pretty busy agency, in fact we were one of the top selling agencies for McCafferty coaches.

I joined the family business when I left high school and my first job was to deliver the freight around town as we also ran a freight depot. I moved into an advisor role not long after and have never stopped, but I don’t sell many bus tickets anymore!


What has been the biggest change that you have seen in the industry?

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Without doubt its the growth of the cruise industry and the massive expansion of the luxury cruise market. It’s a juggernaut that can’t be stopped.


Why do you think Cruising is so popular?

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I think cruising provides that perfect level of travel convenience while giving you access to some of the most amazing places on earth. I’ve seen so much of the world by ship, whether it is ocean or river.

Each night when you return to your ship, there are things you can expect, whether it’s the pool or bar, the gym or a great range of restaurants, it’s all there and convenient and you have a huge range of services right at your fingertips. Of course there is also the convenience of only having to unpack once and the security of knowing you will get to your destination without any hassle.

I first started cruising back in the 1980’s on Sitmar Fairstar out of Sydney travelling on “D deck” in a six berth cabin with friends and sailed on her twice. I had an inkling then that this would be a travel sector with a tremendous future and it is still developing.


What does the future look like for cruising?

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There is still a huge amount of growth for the cruise industry but bigger ships won’t make better travel, especially for the high end client. For the luxury market it’s about space, inclusive service and indulgences. It is similar to high end real estate – a luxury home is all about space, style and modern conveniences.

Will we have hovering ships? Well maybe, at least this may eliminate sea sickness, but the cruiser still wants the freedom of the oceans and to feel that movement of a ship.


What keeps you motivated to stay in travel?

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Every day in travel, and particularly luxury travel, is different and exciting. I get to book my clients on a trip of a lifetime, work alongside a great team of inspiring advisors and continue to seek new travel designers to bring into our growing independent network .. it’s all lots of fun!


What are the challenges you are facing in the business today?

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Day to day, my challenges are getting my clients the right space on an airline or a cruise ship – the space that reflects their needs and is a best fit for their travel desires.

In my business, its finding the right kind of advisor to work in the luxury market – this takes someone with a great attitude, a zest for life, a love of travel and a real desire to provide great service. I want to build the next generation of luxury travel designers and I’m out there looking for them every day.


Are there new destinations now in focus? What are the top 3?

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In cruising – the area that I know the most about – its all about exploring. This is the space that all the cruise lines are moving towards as clients look for new and exciting fronteers.

Travel has moved from being a big, once-in-a-lifetime experience to become almost a necessity. We are no longer afraid of pushing the boundaries and that’s why we are seeing so many people travelling beyond the traditional destinations. Now we see destinations like South America, Antarctica and the Arctic rising to the top of people’s travel lists.

Overall, Iceland is pretty hot at the moment and the Mediterranean and Europe are always at the top of the list.


Who inspires you within our industry?

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Luxury travel network, Virtuoso, has always inspired me and it continues to do so. I went out and brought an agency in Brisbane in order to become a Virtuoso agent – being small country town travel agency in North Queensland (population 8000) it was hard to even be considered. That agency helped to put me on the map with Virtuoso and I’ve never regretted it.

I still work as a full time travel designer and high end travel has always been a huge part of my career. As the Managing Director of Savenio, I love to give travel advisors the ability to earn what they deserve. We give them a true 100% commission and, unlike others, we don’t skim anything off the top. Earning your worth is why I created Savenio in the first place. It’s also why our advisors love their job and being part of the Savenio network.


Where would you like to see the industry in 3-5 years?

We are starting to see the cruise industry embracing direct relationships with agents, rather than going through a third party, and this has been a great leap forward for our industry. Having direct relationships is vital to providing a high quality travel experience for a client.

This direct supplier/agent relationship is a win-win. Its increased the suppliers sales, and the agent’s commission and they now have transparency in being able to see who is supporting them with great sales results.


What message would you share to a newbie entering the industry?

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Work hard, play hard, enjoy the industry (its full of great people) and learn from the experience. This is how I approached my travel career and, as my dad told me when I was young, hard work hasn’t hurt anyone.


What has been your most memorable trip?

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I have had so many but the place I most adore is Bellagio on Lake Como.


If you could travel anywhere on any budget, what would it look like?

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You are speaking to the cruise-converted. A back-to-back world cruise on a six star all-inclusive cruise ship of course!

Have you travelled with David? Share your fun stories.