Name: John Warburton
Position title: District Sales Manager – Queensland & Northern Territory
Company name: Collette
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the travel industry in December of 2014. Travel had always been a passion of mine, I think travel is beautiful and I love learning everything I can about different places, their history, their culture and their way of life. Joining the travel industry was nothing short of making my passion my career.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety of people I meet and interact with each day is wonderful. I enjoy helping agents grow their business and provide the ultimate in experiences for their clients. Every day is different, which helps me keep my joy and passion alive for what I do.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I would have to say that the greatest achievement for me is creating new relationships with the travel industry while working for a company new to Australia. I always find great joy in my relationships with people, and I’m proud of what Collette has achieved to date in Australia many of the successes directly from the relationships that I have made so far.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Probably the best advice I ever got was from a former manager of mine, he told me to never be content being a big fish in a small bowl. Always strive to be a small fish in a large ocean. It may be scary and intimidating, but never being content and always striving for more will always lead to a more fulfilling time on this earth.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
That one is easy, Alison Mead who is Collette’s Business Manager here in Australia. I think she is amazing, I have never met someone who works as hard as she does, while still maintaining great relationships and is always a joy to be around. Her diligence, passion, generosity and her willingness to always go above and beyond to anything she sets her mind too I find truly inspirational.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
Outside of the great itineraries and holidays that we create every day, I would say one of our truest strengths is the quality of our reps. We are trained rigorously to provide not only product knowledge to our agents, but also ways to grow their business. We strive to be local and available at all times, but even beyond that is the ability to demonstrate to agents that we are always professional, helpful, knowledgeable and perhaps most importantly fun to work with. I see the ability to promote agents business and growth as perhaps my number 1 responsibility as a sales representative for Collette.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
I would love to go see more of Eastern Europe, Russia, Poland and the Scandinavian countries are all on my list of places to go and immerse myself in.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Funnily enough the most memorable travel moment was actually on the plane flying to Australia when I moved over from the United States. We were soaring in the sky to an unknown home and I remember being slightly anxious, I was only 12 at the time, it was a full moon out and every cloud looked like an ethereal iceberg in the sky. It was breath taking in its simplicity and beauty. It was memorable for me because despite my apprehension for my new home this scene reminded me of the majestic beauty that the world has to offer. Ever since I’ve always tried to recreate that feeling whenever I’m going somewhere new.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Headphones to enjoy my favourite music, a good book that takes me out of the plane and creative strategies that allow a tall man to enjoy at least some sleep on long flights.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
I would love to travel with Alexander the Great, and trek with him (not in his army) from Greece to the oriental sea. I think it would be amazing to hear the stories that he has and to see how much the world has changed since his time. He created the biggest empire in his age, I think it would be amazing to hear what he has to say when he finally reaches “the end of the earth to the East”.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
I believe that the group travel industry is heading towards more personal experiences that they can’t get anywhere else and travelling to more exotic/adventurous locations. To satisfy this I really believe that small group travel will become huge, especially as more intimate itineraries are created that allow customers to experience what it’s truly like to be a local in whatever their chosen destination. I think all the must sees have been done in many of the same ways and I feel that people are yearning to have more authentic experiences that connect them with the local culture and really move them in a personal way. I think it would surprise most people to learn of the kind of intimate/boutique type experiences that small group travel can offer and how much they are missing out by travelling on their own.