We blew in (some of us literally thanks to 110km winds at WLG airport), we listened, we networked and we left a whole lot more informed. So what were the key take outs?


1. Burnes says hello new world


Andrew Burnes, CEO designate helloworld

helloworld CEO designate Andrew Burnes, now a 40 percent stakeholder as part of the AOT Group Merger set an upbeat tone for the weekend.

It was always going to be the most keenly anticipated address of the event and Burnes rallied the network with a straight shooting speech that focused on his extensive industry background whilst giving everyone a taster of positive member updates to come in the new year.

Burnes also closed the Conference with a similarly network uniting wrap featuring a clip of Al Pacino’s famous speech from the movie ‘Any Given Sunday’.

Mimicking Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous Terminator line, Burnes parting words were “I’ll be back.”

All feedback suggests members and suppliers were seemingly impressed.

You can read our detailed report on his Keynote address here.


2. Great leadership starts from the ground up


Julie Primmer, helloworld GM

In her keynote address, Helloworld GM Julie Primmer referenced the All Blacks as an inspirational example of how they as a team “Shape the culture of shared responsibility” and how “Great leaders, turn challenges and complications into an advantage.”

The All Blacks mantra is that you never get too big for your boots. Amazingly, post every game; senior players will stay behind to clean up the changing rooms. The All Blacks say, “Humility is taught in all things”.


3. “It’s all about the WHY”


David Padman, Head of Associate Corporate and Affiliate Networks

David Padman, Head of Associate Corporate and Affiliate Networks asked us not to focus on WHAT we do but WHY we do it. Quoting famous TED speaker Simon Sinek he told us “If WE don’t, why should anyone care about what we do?” Padman stated.

“Our why is future-proofing your business. It’s about vision, it’s about commitment, it’s about partnership and it’s about action. You’ve seen how much we have already delivered – and there’s much more to come.”

David Padman, Head of Associate Corporate and Affiliate Networks, helloworld   


4. Search and you will find Agents


helloworld.com.au Agent Finder

Chief Marketing Officer Kim Portrate updated the network on the groups considerable marketing efforts in the last year, which has seen brand awareness grow 37 percent including a sharp increase in Social Media followers (including 73 percent Facebook growth to 153k fans).

Portrate also reported that the agent finder function on helloworld.com.au is notching up around 19,000 visits a month with a reported 120,000 new customers engaged with the brand and network in the last year. Including many aged under 30, which is a clear sign of how a quality online and offline solution can happily exist together to drive enquiry.


5. Qantas can’t stop making us cry

Executive Manager, Group brand and Marketing, Stephanie Tully managed to make us all cry twice in her presentation by playing the ‘feels like home’ ads at each end of her update. Which is some feat for any presentation.

We’re all human beings that desire the same things in life ultimately. Qantas are using authentic, emotional storytelling in all their marketing and the response in the room was a clear sign that it works.

Click here to read more about the Qantas ‘Feels like home’ campaign.


6. Ann Sherry says you can do anything

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia is one of a rare breed. An immaculate, striking woman with a magnetic energy you can’t help but be drawn to when she speaks.

Sherry gave a passionate leadership speech that talked to the value of bringing meaning and fun to everything you do and re-iterated that your people are your most valuable asset. “Leadership and change go together” says Sherry who hates the Status Quo and loves people who lead and get things done.

Keeping yourself healthy and taking regular time out to switch off and get back to nature are key strategies Sherry also uses to keep the balance right.


7. Cruise is booming for helloworld

Oceania Cruises

What a surprise! Not to you no doubt but good to know that cruise is the highest performer for helloworld with 33 percent growth reported in the last year by Chief Marketing Officer Kim Portrate in her marketing presentation.

Seemingly cruise continues to grow with Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry citing that collectively “We’re going to mop up where mining left off” as an industry. And she’s probably not wrong.


8. Air New Zealand rewind to fast forward


Celebrating their 75th birthday, Air New Zealand put on a fashion show through the ages on Friday night at the opening function in the Wellington Convention Centre.

The fashion show typified an airline that punches well above its weight as a competing global player by consistently innovating in everything they do.

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon spoke on Sunday morning and gave us his thoughts on leadership saying that “Airlines are peculiar. The reality of airline managment he said is that “Often, poor results are blamed on uncontrollables such as the weather, fuel prices etc. or economic instability.”

Great culture and leadership Luxon says “Responds quicker and deals with these kind of issues instead of blaming them. It’s the mindset that is the actual response.”


9. Global Achievers are off to Hawaii!


If you’re selling Qantas Holidays, Viva Holidays, Ready Rooms, Rail Tickets or the Cruise Team then start selling more! Because if you make Global Achievers in 2016 you’ll be packing your bags and saying Aloha to Honolulu next October.

Fiona Dalton, Head of Sales for Qantas Holidays and Viva Holidays also announced in her presentation an update on Calypsonet which will move to a more user friendly version called ‘Tango’, new ticket wallets and a reduced fee of $55pp for all domestic and International bookings (previously $165) that include land and air with the option to suspend your deposit for six months should you need to cancel the booking.


10. Google says life is all about the micro moments

In a clear sign of the times, a recent study found that 33 percent of Generation Y would rather than go without sex for day than not have their mobile, which aside from being a sad statistic, only highlights further the power of the device and its critical importance in the travel buying lifecycle.

Head of Google Travel Dougal McKenzie described Micro moments as being the “I want to do, I want to know, I want to go and I want to buy” moments when we reach for our phones to find information. Something we do on average 1,500 times a week according to Google.

I know I’m probably guilty, What about you?

Travel is still the most searched for category of all on Google which when you think about it, makes total sense. We’re not selling fridges here are we? Travel is sexy and is the kind of stuff we all want to dream about in our every day lives.

The positive take out is that more people want to travel than ever before. So make sure your web presence is a strong and inspirational one and get involved in the conversation with your customers online through Social Media as well as in-store.


11. Superstars can be managed (even Barry Hall)

Legendary AFL star and former Sydney Swans Head Coach Paul Roos delivered an impassioned and humorous keynote speech around the values of leadership and his experience of managing ‘Superstars’.

His tips? Make everyone a shareholder in the business and ask everyone “What they want to achieve in the business too? Values and visions are all well and good, but it’s only when everyone is invested in some shape or form that you get a truly positive outcome.”

He also added that a “Consistent approach to managing staff” was always key and that you “Can’t play favourites with superstars.” Adding “Everyone should act their way into the system and could easily act their way out if they aren’t on the bus.”

An ethic that unfortunately Swans legend Barry Hall felt the impact of. Roos finished with a gold nugget in that you should “Always finish a meeting with a positive.” Which feels like a fitting end to this piece.

600 Members, Suppliers and Helloworld staff no doubt left Wellington with a clearer view of the road ahead and inspiration on how they can play more of a leadership role in not just their own businesses, but life in general.


12. Next year? See you there!

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.