At the 2019 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards we knew we were in with a chance. Few other travel management companies can match our expertise and personal service and we had indeed been finalists for the last 4 years. Then at the gala night in Sydney we finally heard the words “and the winner is…Complete Business Travel.”
Asking Complete Business Travel (CBT) founder and MD, Simon McLean, what it meant to receive our country’s top award for ‘Best Travel Agency Corporate – Single Location’, the life-long surfer said “I’m stoked!” “This is a great acknowledgement of what we’ve been able to achieve as a family-oriented business. It’s thanks to our dedicated team of extraordinary travel professionals that we are able to succeed, where other companies fall down, in staff and client retention.”
“Our team has over 100 years of experience combined, which is remarkable in the travel industry, but it’s also deliberate – we invest in people with exceptional product knowledge and in return offer a flexible working environment where they are valued and rewarded for looking after our clients,” says Simon.
There’s a lot of Simon’s passion for surfing that has washed over into his professional world. Knowing how to keep your eye on the horizon and always being prepared for the next big challenge, plus learning when to hold back before you wipeout.
You can also see the surf-life-balance mentality in the fact that we are not based in a stuffy CBD office and success is measured by customer satisfaction, not sales conversions.
“I was in a meeting with one of our key clients today” says Simon, “when the CEO leaned across the board room table and asked ‘Are we paying you enough for the service you give us?'” “That’s it, that’s what CBT stands for in a nutshell, delivering service and professional advice that equates to great value for our clients” Simon adds.
The value of working in partnership is echoed by our clients. Scott Power, Group Executive Director Operations – BMD, recently explained, “As we’ve grown so too have CBT in the services and the way in which they provide those services, the technology platforms, all of those tools that we use have grown and evolved with the growth of our business to make our travel arrangements seamless.”
Partnership for CBT also means supporting our clients’ internal plans and working together to achieve an organisation’s corporate social responsibility goals. CBT sees itself as an extension of each of the businesses who engage our services.
While other travel management companies are focusing on their technology platforms providing personalisation via artificial intelligence, CBT embraces the latest technologies but we also strongly believe that personalisation starts with people. The best people on our team, person-to-person contact and clients having the confidence that whenever needed, there is a person there to help.
It’s now 14 years since Simon McLean paddled out with his decades of industry experience and took off on the CBT wave of success.
Taking traditional values and applying modern techniques has led to awesome barrel ride, after barrel, for our Brisbane-based agency that continues to enjoy year-on-year growth and 100% client retention in the past 12 months.
Does Simon still get the time to surf? Absolutely, he’s the first to admit that taking out his shortboard on a glassy day or simply sinking his toes in the sand keeps him focused and sane. He says the trick is taking that passion, applying it to something else you love and keeping your eye on the horizon, always. You never know when the next exciting opportunity will present itself and you’re going to want to ride that wave all the way to the beach!