TVGConf2023: Opportunity Knocks For All

Posted on: Friday 8th December 2023 by Jess Clayton

Phil Nuttall took to the stage to open the main day of TVGConf2023, at Paphos’ Attikon, with introduce Opportunity Knocks, news of the Group’s results from the last 12 months, and to announce plans in the pipeline for 2024. Walking on to a rather unexpected video of himself performing Ian Drury’s “Hit Me With Your Rhythmstick” from a previous night’s karaoke efforts, he addressed the room…

Adversity. It’s a difficult or unpleasant situation. If you want to see the true meaning of our theme “Opportunity Knocks” look no further than here:

One of our esteemed business owners is down right now, but proving that they’re definitely anything but out.

Phil went on to say that TVGConf2022 was all about Recovery, and the Group has risen to all of the challenges placed in our path. Back in May 2022, aboard MSC Virtuosa, he was quoted as saying;

If we are to truly recover, we simply have to find ways of creating normality for our colleagues in our business. The biggest thing that will bring normality is opportunity, because we are focussed on the future and not on the past.

He outlined 4 key building blocks that allow everyone to capitalise on Opportunity – Discipline, Communication, Passion and Experience. He explained that the harder you work on these four areas combined, the bigger the opportunities will become and the easier they will be to identify.

Looking Back

The family business has grown significantly since May 2022. We currently have 61 salaried staff and 91 business owners. When you take the salaried sales agents out of that equation, our business owners are looking at a 1:2 level of support. That means we offer a level of service that can only be matched by travelling with our luxury tour operator partners!

From a Revenue perspective, compared to the same period in 2022, the Group is up 42% on sales!
Leads Generated Business – Up 37% (comprising Southampton Cruise Centre, The Cruise Village &
The Holiday Village – Up 42%
The Travel Village – Up 61% (Our retail store in Blackpool)

The Holiday Village, which has historically been a very land-based dominant business, has almost doubled our cruise business since experiencing life aboard a cruise ship on MSC Virtuosa, plus the many generous opportunities afforded to our business owners by Virgin Voyages throughout the summer!

Looking Forward

Of around 300 operators we have access to, through MidCounties Cooperative Consortium, we have traded with 148 in the last 12 months. That means that there’s around another 150 opportunities to offer our clients something new, or for our business owners to find a niche!

Our Cruise agents will be introduced to an incremental sales opportunity, by targeting all our guests from Southampton Cruise Centre with Land Based travel options via the Southampton Travel Centre. This will be an internal brand solely directed at our existing lead generated cruise customers. This “low hanging fruit” is the most obvious opportunity within the Group.

For the Care Team, we are about to start testing automation of booking confirmations and tickets in conjunction with Traverse and Vertical Systems, which will free them up for “Exciting Opportunities”.

Our Road Map for 2024 is an exciting one, including a brand new Holiday Village website, a specialist tour business, a specialist golf business, and the expansion & inclusion of AI to enhance our guest experience.

Finally and, most importantly, we will be increasing and improving our training in 2024. We will keep investing in young people – our rising stars in the business. Behaviour & best practice will be at the centre of everything we do. Opportunities to diversify job descriptions, learn new skills and practice our passions within the business will be abundant, and fully encouraged. We have a lot of talent within the business, regardless of employment duration by the Group. We want to ensure that we’re getting the best of of our people and that the same is true for them.

Opportunity Knocks!

Following Phil’s introduction to the day there were presentations from John Docherty of Easyjet Holidays, Katia Demetriou from the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism, The Mayor of Paphos, and Mark Henderson of Constantinou Bros.
Guest speaker Simon Jackson gave a thought-provoking talk on how to identify opportunities; and how making the choice to take one can change the course of our lives and the way we see ourselves.

The day closed with a Q&A session with the Nuttalls. MC Debbee Dale grilled Phil & Paula with questions submitted by people within the family business and tour operators. It was an enlightening and heartwarming session, highlighting that, often, unscripted honesty is the best way to gain respect and trust.

The one thing that become more apparent than ever in the last year is that people are our biggest opportunity and asset.

When Opportunity Knocks, remember to open the door.

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