Name: Steve Richards
Position title: General Manager – Sales & Marketing
Company name: Best Western Australasia
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the industry in London in 2002, working for Contiki Holidays. I’ve always loved travelling and believe you should do what you’re passionate about, that’s why I was drawn to work in travel. I love seeing the joy travel brings to people and I get great excitement out of being a part of that.
What do you like most about your job?
The people I work with and working on new ideas to drive sales and marketing. I also love crunching sales figures.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Turning around the Best Western Rewards loyalty program to record growth through new initiatives and a new direction.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
My father always says “work hard and be passionate about what you do”.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
Justin Montgomery (MD – Traveltheworld) is someone I’ve always looked up to in the industry and who has always supported my career.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
A comfortable night’s sleep so you can work well or enjoy your holiday. We have a Best Western hotel type (Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier) to suit any traveller and each one of our hotels has its own unique character and charm.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
The Kimberley region in Western Australia and South America.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Good: Staying in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. Bad: Bumping into three lionesses on a safari walk in Botswana and being stared down.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Leatherman, a First Aid kit and a good book (fact or fiction) about the destination I’m in.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
With Kelly Slater to Hawaii, everyone would let us catch plenty of waves!
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
The rise and rise of online travel agents and the shared economy are causing major disruption to hotel chains like ours. I believe the next five to ten years will see more leisure inventory being controlled by them whereas hotel chains will strengthen their corporate inventory by offering better value adds and other reasons to book direct.
Steve Richards, General Manager – Sales and Marketing, Best Western