Zach Gregory – Business Development Manager – Collette
Name: Zach Gregory
Position title: Business Development Manager
Company name: Collette
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the travel industry on the 21st of November 2011. I remember the train ride to my first day. I created a playlist on my phone the day before and a song that I listened to on repeat was “Run the World” by Beyonce. That song still sticks in my head and whenever it comes on, it reminds me that making the decision to join the travel industry was the best decision of my life.
What do you like most about your job?
Every day I am blessed to work with great people – both the Collette team and the amazing travel agents I work with, who make me smile, who are driven and who share my passion for travel.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Well, there are two. One was when I was a finalist for the 2014 National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) for ‘Rookie of the Year’.
The other big achievement is one which happens every day, as more and more agents start to book their clients on Collette tours and get great feedback. It is wonderful to see the industry’s confidence in Collette and the demand for our itineraries growing!
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
“Dare to be different”- Brett Wendorf. This advice has turned into a strategy. I like to be different and want people to remember me. Don’t be a number, be a person!
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
I admire all the innovators of the industry. The people who think outside of the box and create engaging, new technologies that transform the way we live and travel and which we will benefit from for years to come.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
As a family-owned business which has been in operation for 100 years, our guests can expect to be treated like family. Collette has a passion for providing guests with amazing travel experiences and for delivering impeccable service – from the minute our guests book their tour to the minute they arrive back home in their private Collette chauffeur car.
What sets Collette apart from the rest is our commitment to reinventing guided touring and staying at the forefront of trends in group travel. From choice on tour, diverse activities and authentic culinary experiences on offer, to offering specialised tour group sizes and styles (e.g. Explorations and Faith Tours) we offer our guests a new level of customisation and personalisation.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
There are so many! I am always adding more and more places to my list and have always found that photos inspire me. When I was young, I remember seeing a photo of Princess Diana sitting in front of the Taj Mahal with one hand on her knee. The sky behind her was so blue and every since, I have always wanted to visit this beautiful place.
I would also love to visit Machu Picchu, because of the rich history of the place which I have seen in many photos and pictures. A lot of my friends have also had their photo taken with the iconic South American Llama – which is definitely a must-do!
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
When I was on a river cruise a couple of years ago with a few friends, I was visiting a small German town for the day. While having lunch we met a group of locals who we instantly became friends with. They were funny, intelligent and also knew the best local beers. After a couple of beers, they asked if we would go to another bar with them, but we would have to make a pit stop of the way. On the walk I could see a lot of people gathering and cheering. The new group of people we were with went to the front. It turned out that it was the town’s pride festival and they were the organisers. I was asked if I could lead the march! It was the best experience I have ever had whilst travelling.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
- Compression socks! I have been using them for some time now for long-haul flights and they make a big difference. No more ‘kankles’ for me when I fly!
- A camera. I’m in the process of creating a travel scrapbook and the images I have taken will be turned into a lifetime of memories.
- A hat. For sun, style and comfort.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
As many close to me would know, Delta Goodrem is my idol. I could see us both in Tuscany while doing a wine tour for a few days.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
The industry will become more and more personal. The ways of communication have changed in the last 5 years. From the days when phone calls, fax and mail were the only forms of communication to today where people can use social media to work with their customers. In 5-10 years, Facetime and other forms will be a way to make revenue.