At the recent 2019 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards the team at Complete Business Travel (CBT) knew they were in with a chance.
Few other travel management companies could match their expertise and personal service and they had been finalists for the last 4 years.
Then at the gala night in Sydney they finally heard the words: "and the winner is...Complete Business Travel."
Asking CBT founder and MD, Simon McLean, what it meant to receive Australia'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," says McLean.
"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."
McLean's passion for surfing has well and truly washed over into his professional life; 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 this 'surf-life-balance' mentality in the fact that they 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 when the CEO leaned across the board room table and asked 'Are we paying you enough for the service you give us?'," says McLean.
"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."
The value of working in partnership is echoed by CBT's clients. As BMD Group Executive Director Operations Scott Power 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 their 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 their services.
While other travel management companies are focusing on their technology platforms providing personalisation via artificial intelligence, CBT embraces the latest technologies but also strongly believes that personalisation starts with people. The best people on your 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 from one awesome barrel ride to the next for this 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 always keeping your eye on the horizon. 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.
This article was written in partnership with Complete Business Travel.
Business News Australia