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Travel industry news

23 Mar 2018

BY TTG Staff


Why it’s crucial to invest in your ‘on the road heroes’

To all you on the road heroes travelling the length and breadth of the country account managing and representing, I tip my hat to you in respect.

Opinion Richard Dixon

The day of the hand-shaker and joke-teller has passed. Today’s account manager has to be a dynamic, fully skilled and highly tuned business builder.

You are among the most hard-working and committed people in travel, often spending evenings and weekends away from home, with calls and emails to deal with at all hours.

Being on your best form day-in-day-out, during every shop visit or event – to hit those all-important targets – takes energy, plus a kit bag packed full of skills and attributes. And while some of these may come naturally, do they all?

Even if you are lucky enough to have a natural skillset that covers every base, isn’t there always room for improvement?

Out of curiosity, I wonder what you – or perhaps more pertinently the companies you represent – are doing to enhance and develop your skills?

It was something Jeremy of Reality Training’s Bob and Jeremy mentioned during a recent outing in the country with Holidaysplease team leaders that made me wonder about this.

At Holidaysplease we consistently invest in our people to help them achieve more. Over the years we’ve worked with a variety of experts covering motivation, performance, language and good old sales.

In fact our team leaders are in the middle of a 15-month leadership development programme created by Reality Training. Our day out provided an opportunity to reflect on the programme so far, and for Jeremy to have some fun setting the leaders an amusing task.

While the task was tackled – and passed with flying colours I might add – Jeremy shared with me that brands that use account managers generally met the suggestion of training with a lukewarm reaction at best. I became inquisitive.

The following day I ran a quick Twitter poll to which a chunky third of respondents said that they had never received training to help them be more effective as an account manager.

Next, I messaged a number of senior industry leaders on the subject who were mixed in their responses, from “Yep, done some personally and organised for my teams” to “I can’t think of anything worse!” and “My instincts tell me as an industry we don’t do anywhere near enough”.

Those are instincts I agree with.

  • Networking – how many drinks sunk in the bar after midnight is no longer the benchmark.
  • Presenting – so many presentations are horribly dull. Sorry!
  • Relationships – results have to be achieved with every partner, not just those we like.
  • Negotiation, time management, self-motivation – there really is a lot to work on.

The day of the hand-shaker and joke-teller has passed. Today’s account manager has to be a dynamic, fully skilled and highly tuned business builder.

Should you want the best from your people, do you not have a responsibility to equip them to be their best? Much is demanded of travel’s on the road heroes – they deserve to be invested in.


Richard Dixon is director of Holidaysplease

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