TravelManagers personal travel manager Derek Harwood (representative for Forest Hill, VIC) was thrilled to win the ‘Home Based/Mobile Agent of the Year – Australia’ award at the recent CLIA Awards.
Harwood – a self-confessed cruise-aholic – was surprised to be nominated as a finalist, and completely humbled by his award win.
“I am grateful to have worked with some inspiring people in travel over the last 17 years and certainly my last nine years in the cruise industry has been my most rewarding. My greatest reward is planning a great cruising holiday for my clients and being able to work in an industry that I love. It’s an absolute honour and privilege to be recognised by the CLIA members in this way. Winning this award really is the icing on the cake for me,” said Harwood.
Executive general manager Michael Gazal applauded Harwood for his win.
“Everyone at TravelManagers is absolutely thrilled that Derek has been recognised as CLIA Australia’s top-selling home-based agent of the year. It’s easy to see his genuine passion and commitment to the cruising industry and to his clients. Derek certainly delivers on the TravelManagers’ promise of providing expert advice with exceptional and consistent customer service. It is this attention to detail that sets him apart from the rest of the industry.”
Harwood paid tribute to the company and his colleagues, including personal travel manager Carl Retschlag (representative for West Perth) who was also a finalist in the Home Based/Mobile Agent of the Year category.
“TravelManagers has given me the freedom to run my business the way I want. To be available for my clients, to attend functions and most importantly a great network of colleagues has allowed me take advantage of cruise holidays and famils as they become available. Congratulations to all the other finalists, in particular my colleague Carl who is as passionate about cruising as I am.”
Gazal said Harwood’s win and Retschlag’s finalist nomination demonstrated TravelManagers growing dominance and commitment to cruise as a specialist travel market.
“Our recent years’ excellent growth in cruise sales show the significant contribution our personal travel managers make to the cruise sector. We consistently look at ways to further promote the value of cruising and develop strategies and techniques in converting cruise enquiries,” said Gazal.
“With our cruise awards continuing to grow, our decision to appoint a dedicated Cruise Strategy Executive in early 2016 to maximise sales and to enhance the current specialist cruise support for our personal travel manager network is the right one.”
Harwood offers some advice for cruising enthusiasts.
“Choose your target market, you don’t need to be everything to everyone, and cater all your education, experience and marketing into growing your market. Cruising is a great product to sell; ship inspections and training programs that the cruise lines provide give you invaluable information and allow you to provide accurate and up-to-date information to your clients. Take all opportunities to meet with cruise reps and attend industry functions. The CLIA training, in particular the Master Accredited course gave a strong direction for my business and of course cruising yourself is the best way to build your knowledge.”
Image: L-R: Michael Gazal – NPO, Merran Wiggins – PTM, Graciela Craig – NPO, Kim Mason – PTM, Derek Harwood – PTM, Carl Retschlag – PTM, Diane Craig – PTM, Tanyu Cilek – NPO, Cathy Moir – PTM, and Aeron Loss – NPO