The Future of Networking, Community & Education for the Travel Industry with Richard Taylor from The Travel Community Hub
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In the past two years, we all have been on hundreds of Zoom meetings and possibly other types of online conferences/training or networking events. Let's be honest, somehow, we have all grown accustomed to this situation but it’s also been exhausting.
In fact, when face to face connection became impossible as the world closed and we all began working and staying at home, an opportunity to move online with networking and connection for Travel Advisors was how our guest in this episode continued to build and establish a brand known for this. Our Guest is the man behind the Travel Community Hub - Richard Taylor.
Richard founded The Travel Community Hub, known as TCH to bring people together from the travel and tourism industry to start and continue conversations with suppliers and educators during COVID-19 pandemic. With the aim to keep the industry connected, informed and supported. His prior business was a Co-Working Space specifically for Travel Professionals.
In this podcast episode, Richard and I talk about Community, Connection, Networking and Education and how these will all look like post-covid. Are we still having online events? Or will we finally connect with one another in person?
We also talk about 'Hybrid events', What this means, how this will work and how this will further help us in the travel industry to continue to connect with one another and be well-informed about what's going on in our industry.
We also dig deeper about The Travel Community Hub and how Richard and his team will continue to support the travel and tourism industry now and in the future as we continue to navigate the new era of travel.
Make sure you stay up to date with the podcast by subscribing and downloading our free resources and checklists to help you with your travel business.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
The Travel Community Hub Website
The Travel Community Hub Facebook Page
Quotes from this Episode
“I think being in a space that has other people, a collaboration or having people that are all in the same industry as you in a co-working space is great. You don't have to talk to them. But knowing that you belong to something that's a bit bigger as well, I think is really important.” - Roslyn Ranse
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Announcer: Welcome to Travel Agent Achievers. The place to learn how to grow your travel business and have fun with it. Join Roslyn and her guests as they walk you through proven steps to a fulfilling and profitable business.
Ros: Hey everybody, welcome back to the Travel Agent Achievers Podcast. Today we have another special guest with us. Richard Taylor from the travel community hub. I am thrilled that we are here in person. Can you believe it? We're here in person. We are recording this so that you have the Audio Copy on the podcast. But we'll also be able to share this as a video podcast uploaded to the YouTube travel agent achievers podcast, YouTube channel. I don't know if it all gets really technical. Anyhow, welcome everybody back to this episode. Richard, thank you so much for being here today.
Richard: I am delighted. Thank you so much for having me here.
Ros: Now we're in Sydney. And you and I actually got to see each other when we met for the first time in person yesterday. But we have done some things together in the past. Welcome. You know, this might be the first time people from the Travel Agent, Achievers community hear about you. So would you mind just sharing a little bit about your background, where you've come from? And then we'll dive into the Travel Community Hub.
Richard: Well, thanks. Again. Thanks for having me. It's great. I got to tell my wife this morning about going to a hotel to be interviewed. Oh, this is quite you for real? Yeah.
So people who don't know me, we'll go. I mean, we know that we'll go through some of the stories about where I've come from. But I currently run something called the Travel Community Hub I started last year. And I interview people and we have events and discussions about the travel industry.
Ros: Awesome. So interviewing people, these are all zoom interviews. Yes. Over the last 18 months, how many do you reckon you've run?
Richard: More than 200?
Ros: 200? A day meeting?
Richard: So yeah. Well, I also started something called, I call it the Travel Community Pub, which was a every Friday night during the first lockdown that we a few of us, that was an idea I had on and we got a few of us, let's let's just have a zoom, just people who want to come and chat about travel, or maybe not about travel maybe just about life.
And it was actually really needed. And we had a lot of people turn up to that. And that was supposed to go on for a few weeks during lockdown. And we're still doing it now. So that if you include those it's a lot. I don't know. I do not know. So there's that. Um, there's no doubt we'll go through the story. But there are discussions as well, quite a lot of them. I don't count them, to be honest with you. Because I stopped.
Ros: I mean, we've all spent so much time on zoom over the last two years, a lot of stuff that I've spent a lot of time on Zoom. Oh, is that a bit of a challenge? Do we need to have some sort of award for spending somewhere towards an award? Yeah, it might include a new camera or microphone or something?
Richard: I mean, you don't really mean, you're your listeners would like to clump together with me something.
Ros: We're not it. We're all in. We're all here doing things for each other? Absolutely. All right. Well, let's go back to before the travel community hub. And now I don't want to say it's too far back because you're not that old. But you have come from the UK and you've worked with Galileo. That's probably the biggest one that I can relate to. Because being a Travel Advisor, myself there saver, Galileo, and, you know, Amadeus . Oh, that's all it comes down to. Okay. Tell me tell me your background. So how has this whole relationship with working with travel professionals and travel agents, particularly here in Australia, or internationally, like how does this all come about?
Richard: Well, I do. I used to do it. That was my game for quite a few years.
Ros: So you have a tech background? Yes, I do.
Richard: Yeah. But that was in my mid 20s. And I joined Galileo in the UK in 2000. And that was just doing it so my boss used to say we might as well sell rubber bands for all that matters to the brown department. But, of course, I was exposed to the people that were working with travel people, and I gradually became more and more injured. I'm a talker, as you know, and I used to chat to all sorts of types. So I used to work in the Windsor office. So it was right next to the castle, which was awesome.
Ros: That's amazing. Yeah, I grew up in Windsor out in the Hawkesbury here in Australia, in Sydney. And trust me, it is nothing like Windsor. Yeah, yeah. Right next to the Queen there.
Richard: Yeah, people should go if you haven't been already, you should go to Windsor car.
Ros: Yeah, it is incredible. Amazing.
Richard: Anyway, so in 2004, I'd had enough of that. And I wanted to either be a journalist or travel. Yeah. And I chose the easy option, I think, which was travel. So I did the whole company bags thing, getting visa to come and work here for a year,
Ros: And that was that and I built a bit of time in Asia and arrived over here, blah, blah, blah, blah. And Galileo invited me to come and work in the office in Sydney. Oh, that's pretty cool. So you weren't fruit picking?
Richard: My delicate European skin wouldn't handle that. Yeah, I'm in the wrong country, really. So I did that. And I was, again, I was doing it. But then I progressed through to, I was more and more interested in the sales team. So I always assumed sales people were a certain type of person that I didn't want to be.
But as I saw them up close, I thought I could do that, I think it was really painful. Yeah, they're just normal. And they talk to people, and they try to fix things. And so that's, I graduated into that, yeah, in 2005, or six. And then was an account manager inside sales account manager for a while, and I enjoyed that. But it was obviously on the phone the whole time. And then went out on the road. And that's when I sort of fell in love with the whole trip. Travel people really, it's not the industry, it's the people.
No, I was visiting. And then maybe people know me from that time. But I was driving around Sydney, and New South Wales initially visited all sorts of ages, and I just, I loved it.
Ros: You were able to come to Australia and travel because that was the purpose to come out here. And then, you know, go back into a role or a company that you'd previously known. So it was like a really easy fit. Yeah. And then you get introduced to all of these incredible travel professionals and travel people. I mean, that sounds pretty cool, I have arrived.
Richard: Yeah, it was good. And then we're still at that point. Gallo itself was a great place to be just the way I describe it, there's a man working there called Michael Hastings, who's no longer with us became a great friend of mine and looks asked me a lot when I first arrived in Sydney. He was an expert, Galileo expert. And but the nature of the company was that if I had a problem with Doris from what he would get, all right, come on. Come on love. What's your problem and, and he gets whatever he was doing with Flight Centre or whatever, to focus on that. And I could go and speak to them and we would get things done. And it was brilliant. Yeah. The results? Yeah. So in that whole environment is when I fell in love with it all. Yeah, really.
Ros: Fantastic. So you went from working there to being a girl And surprisingly, you're still here. Hopefully you're on a working holiday. Yeah, okay. Extended.
Richard: Yet no, I met my wife workers li Oh, actually. And so I was on the spouse thing for a while and then I became a citizen and now I'm Dickey. Ozzy. Thank you. Yeah. Do you eat Vegemite?
Ros: I do. Wow. Okay. That's huge. All right. So you've now moved here and you've set up life. We found a beautiful woman who had become an Australian citizen. So have you stayed? I mean, did you stay with gal for a long time?
Richard: Yeah, I was. I was. Yeah, I was in 2015. Wow.
Ros: Okay. Yeah. That's a long time.
Richard: It has been a long time. It's too long. I should be okay. Yeah. I mean, that I personally want to get but I went through a period I was having sleep apnea. Yeah. I know. But I was really suffering with it. And so I was really performing in that role. That was sort of my best thing. I was. We were returning customers. I was good at that. And yeah, but I was getting more and more tired and I couldn't work it out. I was just going home after visiting people and just going straight to bed. Yeah.
Ros: Hey, I do, I do that now. Yeah. So perhaps I should go to demonstrate.
Richard: But i In the end, I had three operations on my businesses and in the end, the last one sorted out. Okay, so I spent time using one of those machines and everything in it. was the most. And so the last few years I was there we had my first child, Rosie, and I, and I had sleep apnea. And this boy was waking up eight times a night anyway. And it was just the worst. It was terrible. I don't wanna talk about that anymore. But yeah, that was that whole?
Ros: Do you only have one child? Wasn't enough.
Richard: He was. He was my favorite.
Ros: Because he didn't realize that this is recorded. Yes, yes. Now, come back to our favorite test. So over the last couple of years, we've, you've obviously changed now you're out of Gao, and you started something called the travel industry? How can you tell us a bit about that?
Richard: Yes. So let's Gal in 2015. I've done some key accounts of business development in the last few years there. It was. Okay. And then went to work in inbound tourism for a couple of years with friends, companies. Fascinating. I could do a thing about that one day.
Ros: What do you feel as though that was a really big change for? Yeah, going. So that was the supply gal and the technical side of things to inbound tourism, which is bringing internationals to Australia, right here. Okay, I'll just touch on this for a bit because we have a, you know, parallel sort of background here. You were bringing the tourists to Australia.
Richard: Yeah. the tour operator does that. And I was helping run that. Okay.
Ros: Yeah. So my background is I worked in international education. And I traveled the world and promoted Australia as a destination for international students. So it was not inbound for tourists, but it was inbound for international students. And I was lucky enough to work in a mainly ICMS International College of tourism and hotel management. It was back then. Kaplan and the University of Sydney as well. So my travel blog was definitely traveling the world and experiencing all of these incredible destinations, but encouraging people to come here because why wouldn't we? You know, why wouldn't you come and study here or travel and explore Australia, we've got a beautiful destination, and you did the same thing. Increasing?
Richard: Gear isn't similar, but I was working for an existing, well established, China focused. Yeah. tour operator. It's a very strange world. It's so different. Yeah. Very, very, because they're bound by rules and regulations that others are not yet because there's an ABS scheme. Credit, the destination status, they can agree between the Chinese government, Australia, Australia, and they haven't lived with other countries as well. But traditionally, yeah, they had to come on a coach tour. They had to have a guide with them. And this and that, and the other. And that's now changing. Well, that change will cause me to be more and more fit, but that's right, that culture. Is that the culture of the coach tour? Yeah, we still exist with the Chinese regardless of how rich or wherever they are. So that was really interesting.
Ros: Yeah. Okay. So we moved into that sort of wrong, got to see another side of things and even worked with agents in that role as well. I mean, in China.
Richard: Yeah. Yes, yes. And go into things like it. In the tourism world, you walk into that, something like that, which is the biggest thing I've ever been to in my life. I don't know a soul. They're not a soul. It was at that time. It was like, what? How can this industry be so? Split? Yeah. So yeah, one of my little things is I like to try to bring the two together where possible.
Ros: Love it. Yeah. Travel Industry. Yeah, that has been Yeah. So we'll talk about that. So yes. Bringing the industry together. Really? What What made you then move into the travel industry,
Richard: A friend of mine, Luke, approached me and said, I've got this idea for this workspace, you know, a co-working space but I ended up in the travel industry. As much as I'd like to claim the idea was his initial idea. But together we spent a lot of time talking about it and talking to other people. And my side of things was to bring it out to the community side to get it working. And together, we sort of shaped what it was going to be.
Ros: So I really felt over the last 13-14 years of myself being a Travel Advisor that it has been a I want to say you versus me sort of mentality, but it hasn't had a whole lot of cohesiveness and collaboration and That's one of my key things now is there is enough business out there for everyone. But if we were able to share ideas and collaborate or help one another, the industry is just going to be so much stronger and travel agents are mind-blowing.
And I think, even from our own personalities like my friends and family, or how lawyers say, you know, Ros, you are quite happy to give the shirt off your back to somebody else to help them. And I see that in an industry. I mean, is that what you thought as well, coming into starting something like the travel industry? I was like, Is this gonna work? How are people gonna work? The CO work? So do we work in the same space?
Richard: Yes. Yeah, you're coming out with the questions that were obvious, you know, like, other people hang on some. But what would happen was we designed the place, we spent too long alone, making the place right. And it wasn't. So let me just go back a step. Businesses are already moving to coworking and shared office environments prior to COVID.
And having visited a lot of those, they're not, I might be sitting next to you, or maybe meeting you in the tea room. And you're a web developer or a graphic designer, which is lovely, but I don't, therefore, I don't have a reason to say hello to you and chat to you. Okay, so I'm a slightly anxious person, which I think we're going to wait for. Oh, yeah. I just imagined that someone, for example, has come down from Brisbane for a conference for a few days.
Rather than sit in their hotel room. This is all on post personal experience having gone to these places, although I do it myself. How cool would it be to go somewhere where you there's a reason to talk to others?
Doesn't mean you have to, it doesn't mean you have to be Mr. Blah, but you can the person that is nearby you or whatever, you could say hello, I'm Richard from so and so are your soul, you know, and that's all you need. And then from there on, you're part of something. And you feel like this is my place? Yeah. S
So there's that independent person. Yeah. Travel or tourism. And then for the companies, there are many companies, you know, i Galileo, Amadeus, I think the Uber as well, the other one. They were not sure what to say, but I knew that they were using co-working spaces. Yeah, but I also know that if I am a web developer in a co-working space, I couldn't give two hoots Ramadasa.
But and that's, that then goes on to the wrath of the staff. Imagine they're in a place where wherever that's, that's a compelling thing for and they're around others, but know who they are, know what they do, and can ask advice and link up with them and make connections. So that's what it was about. You know, I'm not saying it was going to be an easy sell. But the amount of people even now coming to me. Of course the IRA is, after all, we've been through all this. That kind of place could be magic.
Ros: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I think that now and I, I agree with you, whenever I'm traveling, it's just so much easier for me to work in a hotel room, or somewhere that I don't necessarily have to talk to others, generally the kind of people we have work to do. But it's nice at least and I often say that now.
So as our travel business is mobile, and we work from home, and a lot of our listeners and followers are mobile agents, we're stuck in one place. So you might have a home office, or you might just be in a space in your home.
But for me, I get a lot of energy. If I'm to go somewhere that there are people, I can go and work in a cafe, I can even go to the local library, I don't have to talk to anyone. But I get that extra energy and accountability and get more stuff done.
I think if I'm in a space that just has other people, so I hear you with, you know, a collaboration, or people are there that are all in the same industry or a co-working space. You don't have to talk to them. But knowing that you belong to something that's a bit bigger as well, I think is really important.
Richard: So we had, we had desks, desks were not they were part of the function of the place, but it was multifaceted. So there were private offices as well. Yeah. So you, you might get one you and another person or your team of five or whatever it might be. But we also have a big event space and that was going to be the thing that was gonna be really adjusted.
Ros: That's the most frustrating thing, because we're able to do some events there. We did
Richard: We had, we had some big things. It could trip up probably up to about 100 people non restricted, you know, forget the fact that there's a disease around other than that. It was gonna be great for that because it was gonna make it affordable. So you as a Playa might say, we can go to the Hilton.
Ros: So I should say Shangri La because where we are at the Shangri La Hotel.
Richard: You could have it there and pay X or do it for a quarter of the price, but also the people that are in there that day, you get to meet them and everything, you might have a caterer or at a meeting in the boardroom. Correct. I introduce you to sounds. So the whole thing was, that's what it was. Yeah.
Ros: So we know that there was then you know, the lightning bolt. And you guys have had to decide to close the travel industry hub, which is really sad. But you made the decision as well to go write about the community and the travel industry, travel and tourism. We still need a platform, we still need something to be together. So that's where you then started the travel community hub.
Richard: I started webinars just as soon as COVID looked like it was going to be a thing, right? So I did the first one then. Because I've worked so hard to try and bring people together. We made a lot of effort to promote that idea to people. I didn't want it to die at that point. And what do I do? So I thought, I stopped doing that. And got a few people together. Obviously I wonder whether 10 people would listen and show up? Yeah. Yeah.
Ros: I sent out the registration.
Richard: Yeah. They're waiting. Another one. Yeah. So that was that. And that was all through 2020. And then, when we had to close the travel industry hub, I moved it to become the travel community hub. So it was an online thing. Yeah. So it became quite successful. And there were hundreds of people coming to them.
Ros: So is it a monthly webinar? What is the trouble?
Richard: Okay? So you've got to remember that I'm just a guy whose wife is working full time. And I'm dealing with the kids that I'm cleaning the house and doing the laundry. And I know, I know, I'm a modern day, I don't know what I am. But that's, that's what I am. And, and so it's just me, I can one day, perhaps I'll be able to say week, if there's other people that we can involve. But yes, so I'm, I'm doing these discussions and interviews with people. And so how do I carry that on? And what could it become? So that's an ongoing process. What I did is the community habit is based on the fact that I have space for people who have like minded people together.
So there's Facebook groups for the industry, they've got 1000s of people. Absolutely. You've got your winnings. One I can't join. There's there's others. Some of them are not allowed to join for whatever reason. But they're not personal. They're not.
Ros: You don't get to see someone.
Richard: Yeah, so I was doing these events. And I've got to make enough money to pay for the bits and pieces. Because I didn't know anything. Everything. Yeah. Yeah, I didn't learn anything in the two years up to COVID. Because I put everything into this. Correct. So I had already been through some trauma prior to COVID. So I'm much more resilient than I thought I was. I thought I'd call it a heap away. COVID came along. I think that's the reason why I carried on. Because no, I'm going to do something. Yeah. Because getting the place ready was traumatic in itself.
Ros: So big deal. Putting anything together and starting something is a big deal. And it takes its toll. Yes, not only financially, but also emotionally and physically. And you know, there's a lot that goes into something, you know, starting it out, and that's in any business that I see.
So, now you I mean, you had that grit and determination and strength to go, you know what, we need to keep going, and you saw the need to still continue to bring people together. And that was then the travel community hub was born.
Yes, having the online discussions and zoom meetings to bring people together and keep people up to date with the industry and what was happening. And I think also one of the things that I see with the travel community hub is that it's not just suppliers coming in and talking about a particular product. It is really a discussion that can start bigger conversations around all sorts of things. And I know that you've had people on those calls that allow the industry to go hey, wow, I have I haven't seen that person before.
They haven't actually been quite open or present for the general public to really see them and, and ask questions.
Richard: For him, yeah, it's a new type of thing. People needed authenticity through this. It's really no longer acceptable for another word, but no longer the right thing to do for some big wig from an organization to come along and waffle about their business for half an hour and everyone claps?
Ros: Yeah, I'm wondering whether that will have a number of events that are being organized now, but may still have that problem. I don't have any personal bigwigs who come along and talk about their business. But there's more than that. So you've got it. It's written, there's, there's the media, or you can read that. And there's events where you can go to, but I've been to a lot of these events prior to COVID. It's quite superficial. And what I think I just felt people needed was the, yeah, the real story and ability to ask questions, and not people not to hide behind a brand's personality. What do you think about x?
So that's what I've, and no judgment as well. I know, from my own experience, being in one of your discussions, yes, I finished the call. And I was actually quite concerned that I was going to lose my contract. with my host agency the following day, because I I said something that was really important for me as a Travel Advisor.
But I also know it's the same thing that other travel agents are asking, and they feel as well. So to be able to be vulnerable, and just speak our mind. People, I don't think people would have done that. If it was at an industry event where he's standing on stage, we've got a panel discussion there.
Richard: It's there in the comfort of their own home. Yeah. But it's a very different mindset to be in. If you've been imagining, you're speaking at a large event, you've already walked in the room. Right. But I'm in your home, you might pull out that will first come on. But then after a while, you think to yourself, no, I think this and that's been great.
Ros: So you have seen, you know, the industry both in travel and tourism, and all sorts of people, suppliers, and agents, and, you know, from all different sectors all coming in, but having their opinion. And have you seen that that has brought people closer together? Or has it changed the conversation? There's definitely more vulnerability in it and more openness. But has it changed? Anything Do you think will collaborate or bring us into a different era?
Richard: Well, the question is, will it be six months, one year, five years after? What happened? What happened now?
Ros: Yeah, what's happening, then? What do you think?
Richard: I think it will, yeah, I think I'd like to think it will, I would certainly still hold people to account, you know, I still don't want to come into this. If you waffle about how great you are for half an hour. Yeah. There'll be a place for that. And there'll be smaller events and that sort of thing, where, or even larger events where the young so and so the CEO, still happens now, those leaders, people that we perceived as leaders prior to COVID. Many of them have turned out not, maybe not to be the leaders that we hope they would be, they can run a business.
But can they help people mentally, who are perhaps not working for their business so they can speak to their own company, but what I'm talking about is they need to transcend that in the future. And going back to what you said about your brand, you know, there are some great people that have come up through this. And then I don't care what brand they are. I've got no I'm not interested whatsoever. And I'll give you one, Sonya Jones. Right who some of your guys are, some of your guys will know.
Ros: Absolutely. Awesome. She's a Travel Advisor, Australia, and she has her own company in South Australia in Brisbane, Brisbane. Don't get it wrong. I know. I'm thinking. Queensland, Queensland.
Ros: So yeah, I mean, tell us about your experience with Sonia over the last couple of years.
Richard: Well, I saw her on something interesting. So I call that I'm lucky now I can call almost anybody and say hello, I'm Richard and they get to make art and they actually talk their mind but so I got her onto a webinar with another two more awesome women, AC Jones and Catherine Jones, I should say our full name and Shelly Bryce and we talked over some stuff and they've been just brilliant.
And they've had hundreds on each one, you know, watching that and commenting and everything. But she's just put herself out there going back to Somalia. She's put herself out there. She's helped people enormously and dogged determination. You know, let's just talk about service fees as an example. Yeah. And how she's doing that and how quite happy to tell you exactly what's happening with it, how they know, you know, making money from that alone etc. I can't help but be really influenced by that, and I find them MTA, what? What does it matter?
Ros: You know, if you are somebody like Sonia or you are an MTA, you know, the host provider or I travel or Travel Counselors or travel managers, or if you're in Nexium in the US, like, it doesn't matter, who is the host provider, or who holds licencing, it comes down to the people right now.
And that's what you and I are talking about, like, it's all about the people in that connection, we need great people right now, it doesn't matter who they work for, or what their brand is, it's just the openness and willingness to help others in the industry. And I see it as an opportunity for the whole time, you know, we all rise together, there are a number of people who are still struggling. And even you and I were having this conversation yesterday with somebody else around professional fees. And it's something that I do want to continue the conversation about, you know, on both of our platforms, we have a podcast episode, which we'll link to in the show notes, which is a fourth step way to actually assess yourself, because a lot of people don't charge fees because of their confidence, or the fear of somebody going and looking elsewhere. Or I think it comes down to confidence.
So one of the episodes that we did and has an awesome resources to just assess yourself, like you can ask yourself the questions, what sort of value do I provide to my clients, and once you have it out on paper, I you are you're able to look at it go, Oh my gosh, I do all of these things. And you don't even realize it.
Professional, I'm a professional. And I I know my stuff. I mean, we've spent years training and learning and being educated and understanding not just how to book a flight on gal or the other two platforms. But it's also down to the clients and consumers. So there's a lot that we've actually learned transitioned, but understand that value and then take it out to your clients and then work out how much they want to pay and start just starting because that's something that a lot of people are really fearful of.
So I love that Sonia is doing that I will definitely have a conversation with her but for you and I know we're going to continue the conversation to help the industry just change the way they they're doing things
Richard: I love these salutes while you're doing as well. Thank you I wouldn't have come across here in the normal world. Via prior to that right after my move to the north coast. Yeah, I wasn't attending events in Sydney.
Chances of us running to each other were minimal. Best. So you're another one. You know, I've listened to a lot of your podcast. I'm not even saying it because I'm appearing on one I have and I enjoyed them. So that's what people need.
Ros: Yeah, that's right. It's what we're all able to do. Okay, so in talking about the events side of things, we have both the online forums we've got podcasts that people are now listening to and virtual experiences. You and I are very much pro hybrid events these days running them in person as well as virtually what's your experience now with we're starting to go to live events and to be honest, yesterday I was quite nervous walking into a room of people that I haven't seen in a long time a number of people that I don't know how do you go when it comes to events and seeing people in person on the site?
Richard: Yeah, always was always walking into things where lots of people just people might be surprised by that but I yeah, I get quite anxious.
Ros: It's a different feeling. I think I've said to people like I'm quite an introvert. I'm not somebody to go out and start shouting from the rooftops and I don't like being the center of attention.
Ros: Yeah, but you know what? I'm not in person with people so if you put me in an in person event I get quite nervous. I don't have anybody judging me right now. I did it. Yeah, I'm not gonna get into things that I've said on the podcast that are just gonna get ya anyhow, it'll get with going to an in person event now. The anxiety is starting to mount for people like you and I but do you think that there will still be these big events?
Richard: Of course, they will come back. Yeah, they will. Yeah. But they'll be different. My stick that I'm saying to companies now is that you can have your event in. And I know you have international listeners as well. So I won't just say Australian cities, but you know, Dallas or Sydney or whatever it might be. Yeah.
But even some of the people that live in those cities aren't going to have the time to come there. In the old days, I mean old days, I mean, two years ago, everyone, you could knock off at four or three o'clock and go and go to your event to learn about a hotel or whatever, maybe take home a nice bag of stuff. Yep. win a prize. Maybe. Yeah. And there were people that did that professionally. certainly seen that one.
But now, staff numbers have gone down significantly, the owner manager is different, has a different role to play these days, and you're not going to waive everyone. I'm asked by everybody at 1pm to go and have lunch and then go to an event.
Ros: Then jump on a plane, I used to jump on a plane and fly to the states for three or four days to attend an event and then come home. Like that was quite normal and acceptable. And okay, whereas now I think that weird now it feels weird to even consider those sorts of thoughts.
Richard: So you probably will still, he will still do it. Because you love it, I expect they'll just be a bit different. I don't think any company can hold an event. Now, without doing something online, whether it's hybrid, whether that means it's live and to the people at home, which is a massive challenge.
Or if it's simply a presentation or something, you've got to do a webinar, because so many people, they maybe they've for financial reasons, maybe for whatever reasons they've left the city that they're in, they're now working remotely because they don't need to be around might be living in their idyllic coastal spot, or they're going to come down and learn about your hotel, you know, or your airline for an event
So that has a dynamic that's still changing.
Ros: I'm seeing that, particularly in other businesses, so not necessarily in the travel and tourism industry. But one of the companies that I work with has in-person events, and then also the hybrid. So running virtually I know with the Shangri La Hotel Group, which is where we are today, here in Sydney, they have the facilities, hotel, Sydney, yeah. They have the capacity to run things in person for hundreds of people, but also to livestream around the world.
And a number of the events that I've also helped co host virtually have been that that you can get people anywhere. And I think that that's a really cool opportunity for you and I as well, as we come through this time. With the Travel Community Hub, it's what you've been doing, you know, so I mean, what's, what's going to happen? Like, what are the plans for? TCH moving forward? Any ideas?
Richard: It's still changing. I don't think we can make decisions right now exactly how it's going to be in the future. But certainly, some live events still will bring people together in an authentic way.
But the whole event where the people going know that it's interactive, and the questions that will be asked of the speakers will be meaningful. I think that's my hope. I think that's my little that's my little niche
I'm not gonna I'm not going to be talked to. Yeah, I'm going to find out. Yeah, we'll have a conversation and go ask the audience more. Yeah. Because I don't think people are going to stand to be chatted up for an hour and a half. Off you go, thanks very much.
Ros: No, well, now we can just turn their screen off in them and go and get a cup of tea or something. Whereas at a live event, if you were to do that, no, you actually have to sit there whether we're able to hold a mask up that I'm falling asleep or something in front of us, who knows what it's going to be but that's really exciting that travel community hub will be able to offer those services or be involved in those services, I hope, but you also have a membership. Yes. For travel agents. The travel industry. Yeah. Okay. Tell us a bit about that.
Richard: Well, I needed something to fund what I was doing over the cost, you know, this but you know, the zoo licenses. So I needed to have a member shipping and I wanted it to be something where people wanted to be. You can join a facebook group, but it's for the right sort of person who respects others who wants to learn things. So I've done what I've done up to this point. Next year. I want to do more learning. There's more. Many independent people sip tea. This is something else. But we're into it.
We've been divided and conquered by the government. So travel agents have been put into this section. tour operators are another section. I'm an independent business. I don't fall into either of those. I'm not in the cruise industry. So I don't have anyone speaking for me. And there's lots of people like me. So I want to create something that's inclusive for everyone. I know what that sounds like. Yeah, there it is.
Ros: You know, there are different sectors, but as an industry, we can help one another. And we can have those real conversations. I mean, Travel Agent Achievers is specifically for travel advisors. Whether you are a mobile consultant and shopfront. You have multiple offices, it doesn't matter. But for the travel community hub, it's inclusive for everyone.
Richard: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So the I've got we've got people who are not even in the industry who just enjoy being part of it. Yeah. Yeah, the several, or people that have exited, and just want to, they don't want to read the news. That Air Canada calendar has a new Dreamliner, that's not what I want to read. I'm working in a bank. Yeah, you know, I want to hear what people are talking about. Okay. So that's what it's for.
Ros: So the community moving forward will have further conversations and discussions and be really open and real for the industry to come together, which is super exciting. So if anybody is watching, listening to this episode, we will link to all the details for Richard and the travel community hub in the show notes.
What's the best place for people to find out about the events and things that you work on?
Richard: My website, which is travelcommunityhub.com
Ros: Love it. It's a.com that is inclusive, even globally. Not just Comdata.
Awesome? All right. Well, thank you so much for being here. Being a part of this, Richard, I am super excited that we have finally connected in person. I'm really looking forward to, you know, the future for you and everything that you do.
I hope that you know, the dreams that you have really do come true because I know how much you support so many other people. You have been there on the end of the phone over the last couple of years.
Super accessible, really easy to talk to, and just allowing people to open up and be vulnerable. So thank you for doing that for the industry for agents but everybody else around the world. Appreciate it. Thank you. I look forward to seeing what happens next. Awesome.
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