Travellers Choice held their biggest ever Annual Shareholders Conference at the Pullman Hotel in Melbourne over the weekend with a record 300 delegates and suppliers in attendance.

Members favourite Master of Ceremonies – Andrew Daddo (now in his 3rd year of being emcee at the event) and CEO Christian Hunter kicked off the proceedings on Friday night at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with a welcome reception and the chance for everyone to catch up in one of Melbourne’s most iconic venues.

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Travellers Choice Members grace the hallowed MCG turf

Hunter then formally opened the conference on Saturday morning with a very slick and pasionate keynote address to delegates.

Drawing on the Perth based groups NTIA ‘Travel Agency Group of the year’ award win back in July, this years biggest ever turnout is a clear sign of the increased interest the brand has attracted since winning the coveted award.

Hunter emotionally described winning the NTIA award as being “The absolute highlight of my year and the proudest moment in the groups history”.

The group has also seen strong financial growth in FY14/15 with the group delivering a 3rd consecutive record and members individually rewarded with record financial distribution. Overall sales grew by 12% over the year with cruise sales growing by 21% and forward sales reportedly already tracking ahead for this year.

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Travel Makers – one of the Gold winners at the Gala Awards

The key point of difference for Travellers Choice Hunter re-iterated, “Is that our members are the shareholders. The more support we get from members for preferred supplier product, the more revenue and profit we generate and that ultimately increases returns to individual members. It really is a “win, win, win” arrangement for Travellers Choice, its preferred partners and most importantly our members”.

Talking about the accelerated rise of competition coming from all angles in todays disruptive business world, Hunter asked that every business and individual in the group needed to ask themselves “Why a customer would come to you over going somewhere else?” and suggested members walk in their customers shoes to ascertain where the gaps are to put the customer at the heart of everything they do.

Hunter also highlighted that given 13 million Australians now hold a passport (the most people ever), means that our appetite for travel is only going to increase with a reported 34% growth in outbound travel predicted within the next decade.

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Travellers Choice new website – going live in December

Four new objectives were launched to the group including a brand new mobile ready website, a digital marketing suite of tools and services as well as a HR toolkit and an e-learning platform for members to on-train their teams.

Hunter closed his keynote to rapturous applause by stating that;

“We will continue to work as a team. We will focus on the customer. We will be driven by results and we will “Lead the Way” to a better future for all involved with Travellers Choice”.

The conference continued on Saturday and Sunday with guest speakers including AFL legend and Media star – Leigh Matthews, ‘Secret life of us’ Actor and Breast Cancer advocate Josh Samuel (Love your Sister) and featured the Travellers Choice Awards Gala dinner on Saturday night and a Cruise component on Monday.

The group also collectively raised $10,000 over the weekend to give as a donation to Samuel Johnson’s Love your sister charity for Breast Cancer which Hunter presented on stage at the close of the conference (image).

In his closing address, Hunter declared the conference the groups ‘Best ever’ based on feedback from members and suppliers over the weekend citing that the group “had taken it’s evolution to the next level”.

Traveller’s Choice also announced that they will hold their 2016 conference in Canberra from the 18-20 November.

Were you there? What did you think? Share your thoughts below?