Travel Industry Growth and Change

Travel Industry Growth and Change

Did we all just come of age at the NTIA’s?

NTIA in all its glory. My decade in travel has exposed me to all sorts of ideas, theories, accusations and crazy ideas of what it’s all about; who shagged who, how its corrupt, it means nothing, same people win every year, what was the hidden meaning in that speech, did you hear about so and so and so on and so forth. All adds to the fun.

But this year, it all felt a bit different in a number of ways.

First of all, wow, super event from top to tail. For me it began with our presentation at those impressive Qantas head quarters. Wow. The precision of the organization, the relaxed professionalism of the judges and the sincerity of the well wishes from everyone I encountered on the day.  Nervous, a little. Fun, definitely. I love those challenges.

But the main feeling I picked up this year was authenticity.  Solidity. A real sense of anyone could win.  Definitely fun.  A sense the industry was comfortable in it’s own skin.

Of the people I know who won, they deserved.  Destination HQ have been good clients and a great business for many, many years.  They run a tight ship staffed by good agents.

We were lucky to have Mark and Danny from FBI Travel on our table who won two from two nominations.  It was a great moment to see the unexpected joy break over their faces as their name was read out.

Danny’s speech in particular set a tone that reverberated throughout the night.  Whilst not everyone is as comfortable thanking God as Danny did, his acknowledgement of support of his wife, kids and amazing staff, as well as those who gave him the opportunity, was spot on.

There were very few ego’s in the acceptance speeches.

It was a common theme; people thanking their staff, their families and feeling genuinely chuffed they’d been recognised. Very few said “I”, many said “we”. I actually enjoyed the speeches.  Especially the last one which was a bit of “no one said we could and we did”. Love an under dog. Always will. Well done.

There were also more than a few surprises.  Whilst I was miffed that we didn’t win the tech section (seriously, my presentation was awesome) it was great to see “new comers to the industry” take out the award. “Overnight success” who have been working at it for years.

Well done.

However, I struggle with is the celebration of the truly online B2C category as its at odds with the people of travel; these companies would rather see travel agents gone.  The same agents who feed the beast….but I’ve beaten that drum before. Then again, maybe that’s my bias being challenged by a changing industry; if they sell travel, they are an agent.

My only regret was not kicking on.  But an intercontinental flight the next day and a wife and daughter sharing the hotel room meant getting home at 3 am was best left to the others on the table.  Who definitely did.

So well done, especially everyone on table 97  and the organisers who can get some rest.  Some of the hardest working organisers may use the experience of pulling together the NTIA’s for their own special events in the near future. You know who you are.

Here’s to another year of growth, change, achievement and excitement.

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