Cruise is in my blood,” enthuses Augustus Lonsdale. “My parents work in the industry and took me on my first cruise onboard QEII when I was 11. Ten years later, I spent a year working on her successor, the Queen Elizabeth, as a graduate student.”
The romance of life at sea stayed with Lonsdale and, while studying hospitality management at Oxford Brookes University, he found that his work would more often than not focus on cruise or travel.
A month after graduating, Lonsdale joined the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) as membership services executive.
A promotion saw him climb the ranks to business development coordinator, which saw him responsible for the creation and implementation of new strategies for membership retention and business growth.
After two-and-half-years, Lonsdale was approached “out of the blue” by Stuart Perl, managing director at AmaWaterways, who asked him to work for the business.
“He needed someone to help set up the first AmaWaterways office in the UK. At first, it was just us two working out of an empty building. My day-to-day role was defined as we went along.”
Taking on the position of commercial and marketing manager, the young professional had his work cut out, managing all GBP and Euro pricing for the UK and Europe in digital and print marketing materials and looking after key accounts.
Fast forward two years and the AmaWaterways team had grown to a 13-strong sales force operating out of its headquarters in Guildford.
Regarding the TTG 30 Under 30 programme, Lonsdale admits he always “kept an eye on it”, looking to his peers in external schemes for inspiration.
“It’s been fascinating getting an insight into sides of the travel industry that I want to learn more about,” he says.
For young people aspiring to pursue a successful career in travel, he recommends attending as many networking events as possible.
“Everyone in travel knows everyone. I would look at accepting a job not based on how good an opportunity it presents, but on the people you want to work with.”
Looking to the future, Lonsdale would like to see AmaWaterways’ continued growth and his progression within the company.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved over the past few years. Next stop is continuing our growth. I feel a lot of ownership for my role because we started with very little. We are also 100% trade-focused and will continue to be.”
Lisa McAuley, managing director tour operations B2B at dnata Travel Europe, sponsors of TTG’s Tomorrow Travel Leaders, says:
“Augustus has been around the cruise business for years, thanks to his parents who have a successful agency themselves, so it is perhaps no surprise that his affection for the sector really shines through.
“He has a very wise head on young shoulders and his advice about picking roles based on the people has served him well.
“He’s found bosses who have spotted his enthusiasm and allowed him the headroom to make decisions. The fact that he inspires this sort of confidence is impressive, and in turn it has driven Augustus to really listen to advice and keep learning.
“River cruising continues to go from strength to strength and there is no reason Augustus cannot flourish in this area. He should be very proud of the work he has done at AmaWaterways to date and I am sure he is set to have a very bright career ahead.”