Barry MayoTravelManagers The Australian Travel Careers Council recently hosted its two day 2017 Industry Leaders and Educators Engagement Symposium, with the theme Connectivity Creates Opportunities. The objective was to connect Australia’s top educators and industry leaders to share knowledge and stimulate views on education, training and career development initiatives.Australian Travel Careers Council CEO and host Rick Myatt invited TravelManagers chairman Barry Mayo to address the Symposium.“Rick suggested an ideal topic in keeping with the Connectivity Creates Opportunity theme would be how an effective connectivity can create opportunities for customers, staff and organisations. With the internet and related technology enhancements having created the opportunity for TravelManagers and the personal travel manager concept to be born, it was an easy decision to focus my speech on the internet and ask the question is it a competitor or facilitator?” said Mayo.He highlighted how the internet enables the 500 plus personal travel managers to operate efficiently and effectively.“TravelManagers’ systems include providing each personal travel manager with a suite of tools supported by centrally delivered services that encompass booking systems with integrated itinerary generation and accounts processing, along with the support of fares, marketing and technology experts.“This together with the connectivity of the internet and enhanced Wi-Fi access means that a personal travel manager is able to be fully operational 24/7, and is also mobile, enabling them to consult and advise at client’s home, office, a nearby coffee shop or anywhere that suits them. At the same time, personal travel managers are equipped to handle an emergency at anytime from anywhere in the world. None of this would be possible without the internet.”The role of the company’s intranet (The Oracle) is also an important technology enhancement.“The intranet creates a sense of belonging, comradeship and teamwork for a workforce that works remotely, often independently and physically isolated from their peers. TravelManagers intranet assists in creating team players who offer encouragement, advice and guidance via the many online forums devoted to specialist areas of the personal travel managers’ businesses.”Mayo provided the audience with context of the business environment the travel industry works within, particularly in relation to TravelManagers business philosophy.“Mobile home-based travel consulting has undergone enormous growth over the last 10 years. Of critical importance is the internet in enabling our personal travel managers to operate with a powerful focus on delivering superior service and tailor-making individual experiences.“Online travel agents and personal travel managers are travel intermediaries just as traditional bricks and mortar travel agents are. Online travel agents are commodity orientated and price focused with little or no customisation, whereas personal travel managers are focused on superior service, tailoring travel arrangements to individual client’s taste or needs with the intent of adding value via bespoke travel arrangements that are intended to deliver a high level of after sales satisfaction.”The travel industry has undergone significant changes and the way client funds are managed is just one of a number of changes.“All client payments are directly deposited into a central audited client trust account and are held in trust until payment is made directly to each travel service provider. This is regularly validated by TravelManagers engaging an accredited chartered accounting firm, to independently audit and review TravelManagers Client Trust account with copies of these ‘Independent Audit Reports’ regularly published on the company’s consumer website to continue to provide assurances to clients regarding their funds. To our knowledge we are the only travel intermediary in the world to publish details of our Trust Account audit reports on its consumer website.”The company also has a Trust Account Fidelity Risk insurance policy, which protects client funds in the unlikely event that they are missing from, or not paid into the Insured Trust Account as a result of fraudulent or dishonest activity.