Graham McKenzie finds himself swimming in a sea of positivity at an agent gathering at the weekend, or is he still under the spell of Paul McKenna?

“Well the only word I can think of from this week’s Global Travel Group conference is…positive. From the moment the 5-1 outsider ‘Happy Days’ won the second race of the welcoming evening’s race night entertainment, it was positivity all the way.

Global CEO Andy Stark began proceedings in the morning with an opening salvo of statistics that showed the travel Industry is in rude health after many years of caution and setbacks. He followed this up with data that showed net commissions had risen by 13% in 2014 and that Global now had 143 preferred suppliers, six more than last year.

A new advisory panel had been set up by Global called, imaginatively, GAP – Global Advisory Panel, where talking is learning and feedback is good. If all this wasn’t enough~ to get you hugging your nextdoor neighbour, next up was Gordon McCreadie of Travel 2 who also shared tales of expansion, record sales and happy customers. Each region around the world had higher sales figures from Global agents in 2014 than 2013, except for Africa, which had no doubt suffered from the not-so-positive outbreak of Ebola that smeared the whole continent rather than just the relatively small geographical area it actually affected.

Next up on stage was the compulsory panel discussion where various sages from supplier companies such as Monarch, Travel 2 and the major cruise lines chatted about current industry issues. Once again, the uplift in mood and opinion was palpable. Monarch, like Global and Travel 2, have new owners and this reinforced the feeling that people are encouraged by the industry as a whole. If people are willing to invest large sums of time, effort and money in acquiring travel assets, that’s got to be positive, and no sooner had we settled down from coffee when the news came through that Dnata, owners of Global and currently on a supermarket sweep of travel assets in the UK, had finalised the take-over of Imagine Cruising. They almost had to throw a bucket of cold water on the delegates.

The celebrity guest speakers did nothing to tone down the impression that we were in some form of evangelical travel and life love-in. First up was a truly remarkable young man Ben McBean who, after fighting through many setbacks to become a Royal marine Commando, stepped on a Taliban IED seven years ago and lost his right leg and his left arm. Fairly negative one would think, but not for this man/boy who fought both the physical and the mental battle of rehabilitation and won hands down. Just one year after the explosion he ran a 6hr 20min marathon using his false leg for the first time and shortly after this became a multi-millionaire through property development. How was this achieved? Humour, constructive thinking, using physical energy to maintain positive mental attitude and I am sure the love and support of his nearest and dearest.

Body over mind was also in many respects the theme for Paul McKenna as well. Certainly any feeling of negativity was eliminated from the get-go as we went on a whirlwind ride of techniques to get to a happier place. I may sound as if I am being hackneyed but I, like the majority of the audience, was genuinely impressed by the man and his tricks, tips and tools. Laughter, silly games, positive physical state and vivid imagination were all used in group experiments to reinforce the feeling that all was well with the world, that all was well with Global Travel Group.

For agents, the conference will have done no harm in creating an overall sense of security and reassurance of being with a company that is going places, backed by a global powerhouse in dnata, and committed to personal service. And, for those perhaps considering a career as an agent, it seems that now is the time.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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