‘Over to you’: Trevor Lee, Managing Director, TravConsult on the new normal

By Trb Editor |

Over to You guest columns logo lead

Trevor Lee, Managing Director, TravConsult, whose Australian boutique consultancy firm specialises in strategic and practical solutions for aviation, tourism and tourism development across Asia, proposes three concepts for the new business environment once Covid-19 passes.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”

The opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities novel pretty much sums up the current situation worldwide. Some businesses and industries are flourishing, but many are not, including as we know, aviation, tourism and travel retail.

Here in Australia, we recently discovered the sad, but expected news that one of the nation’s two major carriers, Virgin Australia, had been placed into voluntary administration. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come elsewhere this year.

In recent weeks, we have spoken with clients, colleagues and friends working for airports, travel retailers, shopping malls, restaurants and hotels. All said their industries will recover, but could not predict nor project how the ‘new’ business environment (new normal?) will look in the future. The standout comment was “anything and everything” is possible.


As such, we propose the following three concepts as our new business environment unfolds.

Trevor Lee, Managing Director, TravConsult

Trevor Lee, MD, TravConsult: “Businesses must focus on destination before product, services and brand, as airports, travel retailers and airlines are not the primary reason for travelling. ”

Firstly, let’s use the single word ‘guest’ across aviation tourism and travel retail to describe the person using, visiting, purchasing or experiencing our products, services, airports, experiences and destinations.

This is a concept we introduced to unite organisations from different industries and business communities around Queensland as one team.

The aim was to inspire and motive everyone to deliver the best possible guest experience leading up to, during and beyond the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Why do aviation, tourism and retail industries use so many different words (remember words are powerful!) to describe this one important person? Passenger, customer, traveller, visitor, tourist, punter and even ‘ride’, for example, are all used as labels for the one person.

Our suggestion is to try using the term ‘guest’ across your business for just one month and watch the change and lift among your team.

This will be evident in the way team members engage and interact with this person (your guest) and in turn, how your guest reacts with positive feedback and even through making a purchase.

Secondly, businesses across all our industries must focus on destination before product, services and brand. Airports, travel retailers and airlines are not the primary reason for travelling. Destinations usually are.

When locals working in airport duty-free stores or travel retail and food and beverage outlets show they are proud of their destination, guests feel safe in the knowledge they have made the right travel decision.

Thirdly and finally, collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.

Stay safe everyone and keep in close touch with your colleagues, friends and families. Hopefully it won’t be long before the situation improves.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the columnist’s and do not necessarily reflect those of TRBusiness.

To read other columns in the series, click the relevant links below. Interested in getting involved? Please contact one of the editorial team at the following addresses: [email protected][email protected][email protected].

Kevin Brocklebank, Founder and MD, One Red Kite

Alain Maingreaud, President, TFWA

Tullia Ialongo, Business Development Partner, Wand Technology

James Prescott, Managing Director, Harding Retail


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