Kaylene Shuttlewood, Regional Managing Director, Travel Counsellors Australia
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the industry in Brisbane in 1989, straight after graduating from a travel and tourism course.
What do you like most about your job?
At Travel Counsellors, people are empowered to take their own journey. That tenet, with the backing and support of a global organisation, inspires an entrepreneurial ability to transform and build the business here in Australia and the region beyond.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Leading and turning a loss making business around during the global financial crisis in the UK and manage a team through a significant downsizing, to drive the business to become profitable.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Life is too short for bad coffee and wine – my Mum
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
I admire the innovators and disruptors of our industry. Those entrepreneurs who saw a gap in the market, backed themselves and gave something a go.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
At Travel Counsellors, we have a great culture and leading technology. We are embarking on a journey towards a transformational digital workforce and putting plans in place to ensure we take our staff on this journey across the global business. It’s safe to say at Travel Counsellors, culture is our passion . We are focussed on finding, attracting, developing and keeping the very best talent, both to service our customers and in the support team. This is demonstrated through our CARE values which should be reflective in everything we do.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Alaska was always on my bucket list and I am so thrilled to have made it there this year. My mum, my sister and I took a girls trip on an amazing cruise with Silversea – an incredible way to experience Alaska. My next big bucket list trip would have to be an African Safari.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
I landed in Delhi, to attend a meeting and was phoned by our “fixer” asking for USD$1M cash payment. My response was I had EUR200 cash and AUD150 on me… along with a clearly stated position on how we weren’t going to be doing business this way together.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?Above (a flight drink)
My devices – phone, ipad, laptop & associated chargers, to stay connected
2 of the above 3 always get used!
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Joanna Lumley. I missed seeing her last year at the Travel Counsellors global conference, as it was just before I joined. We would sail the Croatian coast together and I hope she will be part Patsy (her Absolutely Fabulous character).
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
The industry is heading toward digitalization via further personalisation. As customers continue to seek experiences rather than just products, there is a huge opportunity to build strong relationships with our customers and use technology to enable the best end-to-end experience. At Travel Counsellors, we are an emotionally intelligent but data driven and technology enabled business. Our own in-house booking platform, Phenix, is a one stop shop. It includes our own content (hotels, attractions and DMC’s), an air engine, MBOS and professional documentation, all linking to the myTC app. The app is our own IP which provides our customers with instant access to quotes, itineraries, travel inspiration and more, as well as offering constant contact with their personal Travel Counsellor. This is the Travel Counsellor in the pocket of the traveller as nowadays, everyone travels with their phone.