Some may argue, BDM’s cannot be superheroes–they don’t wear tights or capes (except for that guy in Perth, but he’s bat##@$ crazy), they don’t fly (Tigerair), and they are not immortal but they are pretty remarkable people.
With Thor becoming the spokesperson for Australia Tourism, yet another BDM has risen to “Superhero” status.
Thor started working in reservations with Bentours, before heading to Finnair, first in inside sales and eventually as their WA BDM.
Thor fell in love, and then married the Thai Airways State Manager (Finnair and Thai Airways, what a combination!), and eventually like everybody, joined the cruise industry, working his way in the Nordic road through to upper management with Norwegian Cruise Lines before taking his current role with Australian Tourism.
Superheroes are and always have been disguised in mild-mannered roles inside our very own travel industry.
Even AFTA CEO Jason Westbury has had superhero rumours spreading about him since, well, now, seeing how you never see him and Batman in the same room together (and now that I think about it, you never see Jason and Wonder Woman in the same room together either).
If any role within the industry can be put under more scrutiny about being super good or super bad, it is that of the BDM’s.
They inspire, support, train, develop, fight for, and update agents Australia wide. Being in travel we can’t describe them as the glue that keeps the industry together, but we can call them the blu-tack that binds (temporarily without leaving a mark) frontline consultants with air, land, sea, insurance and tech operators to ensure the Australian public continue to get the best advice available from the best travel agents in the world.
When there’s no hope in sight in Brisbane, travel agents know there’s hope in Insight with their remarkable dynamic duo in Tomas Malmberg and his trusty sidekick “Super” Ray Hands.
All hope will never be gone, but rather Ghan in Adelaide with the amazing Matthew Dommenz being the choo choo chosen one at Great Southern Rail. In the adventure space, the legendary Peregrine New Zealand BDM Grif Griffith, G Adventure’s Queensland BDM Jerry Pilgrim, and Intrepid’s Victoria BDM Chanelle Hetherington are the first step in the journey of 1000 miles by taking agents out of their comfort zones and leading them to a lifetime passion for adventure travel.
But if there is truly a leader of in Hall of Justice of BDM superheroes, it is must be New South Wales Cover More BDM Chris Willocks, because in as much as Aquaman can talk to fish, Spider-Man can shoot web fluid out of his hand, Daredevil can ruin actors’ careers, and Superman can bend steel with his bare hands, even super they can’t make travel insurance entertaining. Chris is funnier at his job than you are in your day to day life and he sells travel insurance.
But the mixture of passion, free alcohol, travel perks, conferences, unlimited supply of Velcro Dots and free subscriptions to Karryon can also be a seductress, and there have been BDM’s in the past that have given in to the temptation of the dark side, and used their BDM powers and banner bugs for evil rather than good. Whilst none of the below are still working in the trade today, a word of warning to all current BDM’s, stay true to the higher BDM cause of truth, justice and the ATAS way, and resist the path taken by those before you who have strayed, otherwise, you too will join the list of BDM Superheroes who transformed into BDM Supervillains.
Here’s my list of BDM Supervillains;
1. The Heartbreaker
Secret Power: Seduction and Rugged Good Looks.
Hidden Secret: Girlfriend, fiancé, wife and kids, or just the fact that he was a D#$@head.
Heartbreaker arrived in the travel industry and was met by the trade with open arms (and, um, legs). Impervious to the rumours the quickly spread about him, he reached his career climax just as quickly as any of his physical ones, creating quite a reputation for himself, ensuring he never go up the corporate ladder.
With an unending flow of novices in the industry, Heartbreaker’s tentacles [sic] weaved their way quickly and indiscriminately, but unfortunately he was not immortal, and eventually turned into…
2. Captain Creepy
Secret Power: X Ray Vision and potent drinks.
Origin: Originally “Heartbreaker” but over exposure to the sun and alcohol, three broken marriages, a very public shaming, and a 40th birthday saw “Heartbreaker” transform into “Captain Creepy.”
Boyish charm turned into dirty old man, in a Hugh Grantesque/Bill Cosbyesque kind of way, with all but the Captain being aware of it. The Captain was easily identified by his x-ray sunglasses permanently affixed to his growing and greying forehead.
3. No Iron Man
Secret Power – Magic Untied Shoe Lace Lasso.
Whilst Tony Stark is known as immaculately presented eccentric billionaire inventor and philanthropist who moonlights as ‘Iron Man’. No Iron Man looked like he slept in his clothes, constantly had his fly down, shoelaces untied with mismatched socks to go with his unpolished shoes, and moonlighted as a Rodeo Clown.
4. The Flash
Secret Power: Ability to perform sales calls at five times the speed as normal BDM’s
Whilst most BDMs strive to give 10 out of 10 all the time, The Flash strived for 10 sales calls by 10 am each day, to comfortably be home by 10:30 and knock out Game of Thrones Season 3 in one sitting (Season 3: Tywin Lannister joined Amway).
Often at times you didn’t often see the Flash, you just noticed a slight breeze as your front office door magically opened and shut and brochures and flyers appeared from mid-air, with a fading soft scent of David Beckham Instinct cologne left behind as the Flash moves to his next destination.
5. The Splash
Secret Power: Produced Powerpoint Presentations Packing a Powerful Protein Punch, Master of Alliteration
Most people don’t mind sharing food, but not when it came in the form of spray talk.
The Splash provided 14% of your daily recommended allowance for protein accompanied with the Kentucky Colonel’s 11 Secret herbs and spices with every morning seminar. Most BDM’s leave a lasting impression, Splash left a lasting digestion.
6. Cat Woman
Secret Power: Had a deep and meaningful relationships with cats
Need we say more?
Secret Power: A look that could kill, silent treatment, resting bitch face
Origin: Consumed a contaminated can of Alphabet soup and mixed in “OCD” with “PMS” and “WTF” to create a dark and sinister hidden persona which emerged when she became enraged.
By the calm of day, a mild-mannered and competent BDM who judiciously went about chores without so much as a whimper.
But agents who turned up 5 minutes late to a morning training session, displayed only 22 of 23 of her brochures in a non-prominent position, asked a question, or used “their” instead of “they’re,” would see this BDM transform into the terrifying and very single She-Hulk.
8. The Commando
Secret Power: Unrestrained Excitement
Origin: Rumoured to be illegitimate son of Frank The Tank
Commando had one move, stripping down to his Y-Fronts or going completely starkers.
Through the streets of Wollongong , on the ski fields of Korea, to the confines of a buzz night, to the nightclub of a cruise ship, Commando revealed his true identity to anybody and everybody around. Rumour has it, Commando is still living amongst us. It could be you.
9. The Cyborg BDM
Secret Power: Immunity to external stimulus
Authorities eventually introduced CAPTCHA Anti-Spam quiz to call out these robotic BDM villains (Ask are you a robot? And then ask, what is 3+2?) Cyborg was a robot disguised as a human, capable of dumping an enormous amount of data, without any showing any signs of humanity in their delivery.
Typical Cyborg to Travel Consultant interaction went down something like this:
Cyborg BDM – Hi, I’m Roy from Canada 3000
Travel Agent – Hi, now’s not a good time, I’m going into labour…
BDM – That’s great, have you heard about Canada 3000 before?
TA – I can’t speak a word of English.
BDM – Well I’m here to tell you all about us!
TA – I have Ebola, it’s highly contagious….
BDM – Our seat pitch is at an industry leading 48%
TA – Has anyone told you that your look like Nicolas Cage before?
BDM – Our toilet to passenger ratio is 1 to 35, not like some airlines who have one toilet for every 24,500 people? That’s not ideal if you have incontinent passengers…
TA – Not “Raising Arizona” Nick Cage, I’m thinking more “Con Air” Nick Cage. Do you have any tattoos? What’s your favourite Pokémon character?
BDM – Do you have many incontinent clients?
10. Used Car Salesman
Secret Power: By saying “Shamwow,” he transformed for into a slick backed hair, fake tanned, bleached white teeth incarnation of Vince, The Shamwow guy. Powerful Slapchops, an Unbreakable Shticky.
Origin: Germany, and you know those Germans make great stuff. Rumoured to be the illegitimate offspring of Big Kev and Crazy Clark.
With clothes straight off Mr. Wormwood in Matilda, Used Car Salesman could sell an Eskimo to an ice.
With as much trustworthiness of a Nigerian Email, Used Car Salesman was always short on conversation, long on infomercial.
11. Train Wreck
Secret Power: Creates disaster, chaos, confusion
Hair out of place, 15 minutes late, buttons unbuttoned on a uniform two sizes too small, fly down, and lipstick from ear to ear via teeth and then the presentation began.
With no noticeable beginning, no point, and no foreseeable end in sight, with a few “loves, dolls, darlings, and dears” thrown in for good measure, Train Wreck approached each presentation and day with zero preparation and even less of a clue.
12.The Invisible Man
Secret Power: Complete Inability To Be Seen , Heard or Contacted
Travel agents knew he existed, he was getting paid, he had a phone number and an email address and a photo tag at an industry event in Karryon, and some lucky agent actually had a dog-eared business card of his, but no travel agent had actually seen the #$#%er in at least two years.
13. Overly Visible Man
Secret Power: Could perform over 10 sales calls, 39 tweets, and over 50 Facebook status comments and check ins each day with 100% focus on self-promotion.
Overtly Visible man wore his heart on his sleeve, and his dating life, medical issues, family, work and personal crises, travel plans, and personal opinions on his other sleeve, shirt, zipper, shoes, pants, hat etc.
There was little the industry didn’t know about OV Man, and a lot they didn’t know about his product.
14. Interplanet Janet
Secret Power: Recycling, Powerful Aura, Holistic, tarot card reading, Crystal Powers, healing powers, magical henna tattoos, Colonic Irrigation, 100% organic Fruitarian.
With a mixed scent of body odour (Crystal antiperspirant/deodorants do not work, they do not work) and hemp from her 100% hemp clothing (or possibly due to the fact she was half baked all the time), Janet was all about sharing the message of peace and the latest news on organic enemas rather than doing what she was actually paid to do.*
15. Captain Useless
Secret Power: Good Intentions, Empty Promises, Zero Follow Through, No Replies or Call Backs.
A BDM with NFI about TCOB
*Editors Note: Crystal antiperspirants and deodorants do not work.
Are there any BDM’s you consider Superheroes? Do crystal antiperspirants and deodorants work? Have you streaked at an industry function? Is Jason Westbury ‘Batman’?
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