Houston surprises and delights Personal Travel Managers
Houston may be famous for being home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, but as TravelManagers’ personal travel managers (PTMs) recently discovered there is so much more to the city of Houston, than just Mission Control.
Victoria based PTMs Mark Devers representative for Gembrook, Joanne Haines representative for Berwick, John Lengacher representative for Windsor, Darren Christensen representative for Narre Warren South; Queensland based PTMs Maree Evans representative for Hope Island, Lillie Smith representative for Toowong and New South Wales based PTMs, Annette McHugh representative for Kiama, Tanya Tyler representative for Riverview were hosted a seven-night famil by Travelcube’s sales executive Teena Hollwey and Karen Dowling TravelManagers’ business partnership manager – Queensland.
The Space Centre may be Houston’s most famous attribute, but all PTMs agree Galveston Island, located an hour from the city centre is Houston’s hidden gem.
“I loved Galveston. The city has so much history! Galveston Island may be small – it’s only 40km long and 5km wide but it sure makes up for it with its historic charm, beautiful houses, antique shops, great pubs and restaurants along with a fun fair on the pier. There always seems to always be something fun happening in Galveston and the relaunch of the streetcars next year will further enhance its uniqueness and intrigue,” says Lengacher.
Galveston Island also serves as a major port for cruises to the Caribbean and beyond.
“A great combo would be three nights Houston and two nights Galveston Island before departing on a Caribbean cruise ship,” says Smith.
Lengacher was initially surprised by how green Houston was.
“The city has a lot of green spaces and looks like a great city for running. I noticed a lot of runners and cyclists around the city during our stay. Houston hosts a marathon in January every year and I would be tempted to return to compete in it.”
A highlight for Lengacher was the night at Topgolf.
“Topgolf is a golf driving range where all the balls have a built-in GPS, so you can see on the screen where your ball has ended up at and your score is added up automatically, just as it would at a bowling alley. For a first time golfer like myself, it made it a lot of fun.”
Houston is the fourth most populated American city and as Dowling discovered getting around can be difficult.
“Houston is a large city and although there is some public transport not all parts of the city are serviced well. Many of the attractions such as the Space Centre, Galveston Island, and outlet shopping malls are a fair way out of the city so I highly recommend clients having a rental car. Driving is straight forward, they are fast drivers and there is a fair amount of traffic but the locals are super friendly y’all and there were no signs of road rage.”
As Lengacher was politely reminded, with all US destinations tipping is expected.
“Remember to always carry plenty of $1 bills as tipping is expected whenever any type of service is given. The driver of your free shuttle or the person serving your morning coffee will definitely expect a tip. Don’t be surprised if they point this out to you, just to ensure you get the point.”
The group travelled from Australia via Auckland with Air New Zealand direct to Houston. Lengacher discovers the airline offers a real commitment to service.
“Travelling on Air New Zealand was an absolute pleasure. The friendly crew provides unfaltering service, which combined with modern entertainment systems, gives me the confidence to continue recommending the airline to my clients without hesitation. With the 14 hour flight from Auckland I can highly recommend the Skycouch – the lower leg support makes the seat much more comfortable, particularly when the seat is reclined.”
TravelManagers attribute the exceptional, strong and effective business relationships with key airline, cruise and wholesale suppliers with providing personal travel managers the ability to experience exclusive educationals, to a variety of worldwide destinations.
“Supplier relationships have been built over many years and support of our partner suppliers’ products is absolutely key to our business model. The ability for our personal travel managers to experience dedicated famils is a large part of this support, says Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal.
Gazal further adds that “TravelManagers prides itself on providing exceptional and personal customer service which comes from firsthand knowledge and experience. Educationals that allow immersion into a destination, such as our co-created dedicated partner supplier famils, are so important and why we proactively work to provide as many educational opportunities as possible.”
The PTMs all agree Houston certainly delivers on surprising and delighting its visitors.
“Thankfully we didn’t encounter any ‘Houston we have a problem’ moments!” laughs Dowling.
For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.
TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.2 billion for 2014. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases.