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 that offers so many lessons and a place to meet long-term friends. These are the ultra passionate, much-loved folks that continue to inspire others by going above and beyond in their everyday roles.
This week we catch up with the glamorous Gai Tyrrell who we all know and love in the industry. We finally find out how she started her impressive career and who actually inspires her. Personally I want to know where she shops.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ROLE AND WHAT A DAY LOOKS LIKE?
I am thrilled to have recently joined The Globus family of brands as new MD for Australasia to lead our region at a very exciting point in the company’s development. Right now I have hit the ground running, so as yet there is no typical day to describe – we are all in fast forward mode!
We are currently celebrating our 90th-year as a globally recognised travel company and with continued growth across the Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon brands, there could not be a better point at which to forge ahead, offering new ideas, travel experiences and opportunities to our clients and our partners in the industry.
WHAT IS HAPPENING AT YOUR ORGANISATION THAT THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO KNOW?
Customer led momentum! Globus has most recently introduced our ‘Cosmos Lite’ collection and have also announced seven new ‘Undiscovered Britain’ tours for 2019.
The tour product names say it all. Because we are passionate to help our clients not only discover, but to rediscover the world, we have just released a range of inspiring new products – which of course also means great new opportunities for our industry partners.
Many of today’s travellers have a penchant for authentic and unforgettable experiences – the stuff that makes memories or dinner party stories! for a lifetime.
As a long time admirer of Globus’ culture, customer service philosophy and focus on partnership-based success, it’s an absolute privilege to lead the business in our region, at this time.
WHAT LESSON HAVE YOU LEARNT RECENTLY THAT YOU ARE IMPLEMENTING?
So many lessons, so little time! But I have to say…. and my new team will understand this – remembering to pace myself! Either that or to wear flat shoes! Two weeks into my role I was hurrying to an internal meeting in a pair of heels and I hit the deck in spectacular fashion, right in front of 50 members of my new team!! What a way to make an unexpected impression. It showed me however the kindness among the team and also the sense of humour we share! Unfortunately the wrist brace hasn’t been remotely chic for the last four weeks!!
WHAT KIND OF TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING WITH TRAVELLERS?
It’s very clear that travellers today are global participants moreso than observers. But while research shows we want to experience the less discovered, that does not mean in a back-pack only, off the beaten track, off-grid traveller mode. With advancements in technology, we are also often well-researched travellers, we can do our own homework on locations and regions before during and after our visits to new places. This means as an industry we must adapt product knowledge and design. We are no longer hosting the uninitiated, even if they are a first time traveller.
At Globus, new products give greater autonomy back to the traveller to fill their days according to their interests, passions and budget, while we expertly take care of the fundamentals of transport and accommodation.
Take our new Cosmos Lite range for example, a touring style that combines the essential features of our much awarded Cosmos tours with a personalised daily itinerary, tailored to individual interests, budget and pace. We now offer 10 new itineraries combining major cities with undiscovered, lesser-known destinations across Europe. It’s a clever combination of comfortable guided touring with individual flexibility.
It’s all about supporting and enabling travellers to get out there and discover and experience the world around them, as they want to.
WERE THERE ANY STATS THAT SURPRISED YOU?
Demand for repeat bookings! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it’s not unusual to have guests taking 10, 15, 20 or more tours with us which is a testament to customer satisfaction and loyalty built over time. And the volume of destinations we cover. As a family of brands Globus offers over 460 holidays to more than 80 countries. That is a lot of choice!
Also the fact that guests on our active discovery cruises have an average age of below 60. River cruising may be seen by many as a product for the retired generation, but we are bucking the stereotypes with both our regular river cruises and especially our active cruises.
WHO INSPIRES YOU WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY?
This is a hard one for me! My own career commenced in my late teens, so I joined the industry at a time where you could count on two hands the incredible characters and leaders who built the foundations of some of Australia’s largest tour operators, airlines, travel organisations. Many are still in the industry today. These are the visionary leaders in travel, hard working, resilient and because of them, millions of Australians have learned to travel and are travelling still.
Immediately to mind are Mike Hatton for his contribution to standards in our industry, Penny Spencer for being a great inspiration to young people via The Travel Industry Mentor Experience (TIME) and of course the vision and discipline of Graham (Skroo) Turner who I have witnessed from the get-go build a tiny no-frills bucket shop to the incredible global retail empire Flight Centre is today.
HOW DID YOU START YOUR CAREER WITHIN THE INDUSTRY?
After high school, at 18, I was lucky enough to have a gap year and convinced my parents that it was a good idea to let me travel throughout Europe for twelve months and then come home and go to university. By the time I got home, I was completely, utterly, hooked on travel and it was truly on the flight home, hearing the Qantas welcome message on board and worrying about next steps and Uni that the light bulb moment occurred – I would work in travel! I would work for Qantas.
I promised my parents I would start Uni if I did not find a job in travel within weeks. I subsequently – well, hounded would be the word, the Victorian state manager at Qantas. Given an interview I started to read my 150 reasons he should give me a job at Qantas…. until he gave me a position in reservations with the airline and the rest is history!
WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU SHARE TO A STUDENT INTERESTED IN ENTERING THE INDUSTRY?
There is no other industry like travel. It is a lifestyle, it is a camaraderie, it is ever changing, it is hard work. Do not believe the stories people tell you about free flights around the world. Never forget it is not about what you can get out of travel it is about what you can do for people… whether in sales, marketing, IT, operations, finance, HR your are joining an industry which helps people enjoy life and discover the world. You are there to help your company and colleagues succeed. Do that well and you will travel.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY THAT YOU LOVE THE MOST AND WHY?
Without doubt, the people I have met and the long-term friendships I have made. Travel unites us on many levels – but I more so mean within the industry itself. The travel industry is a lifestyle and a community.
I have firm friends around the world, colleagues past and present, even past competitors and we have all shared experiences working in the business of travel, competing in the business of travel, solving issues, kicking goals that I could not imagine occurring in any other industry.
Even after people leave this industry they do not escape – there are many retired colleagues around the world who remain lifelong friends and mentors to others.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TRIP?
Swimming involuntarily in the Zambezi River! When I was about 25, as a Qantas sales Rep I escorted an educational to Africa. I looked after our relationship with wholesaler African Wildlife Safaris – the airline’s biggest seller of African holidays. We took seven top selling Australian agents, all women in their 20s and 30s on a five day canoe safari of the Zambezi.
We were there amongst it all – crocodiles, elephants, lions, hippopotamus, birdlife as in sleeping in tents on the sides of the river, travelling in pairs in separate canoes, armed guards at night! I will never forget the look of shock on the safari guide’s face when we arrived. Nor the look on his face when my canoe buddy Annie Rogers and I capsized!
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
It would be Out of Africa! Oneday, I would love to take my husband Pat and teenage son Charlie on a African tour. It would be wonderful to see them experience remote and wild Africa. And then, to finish off in Paris for a week of soufflé and Chardonnay!
- CAREER: Travel meets events: Join this thriving team as a Group Travel Expert
- CAREER: Are you licensed to thrill? Not just your ordinary BDM role
Have you worked with Gai? Share your fun stories.
Share this story