Through adversity, we triumph and conquer
- 1st national conference in 3 years in New Zealand
- 429 employees in attendance
- 7 new employees attended the conference as their first day
- 41 people presented with 10+ years of service awards
- 32,768 years of collective travel industry experience
The numbers say it all.
In a massive ‘hell yeah’ to new beginnings, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) New Zealand’s entire business gathered in person for the first time in 3 years. Over the 2 July weekend, employees from across the company's corporate, leisure, wholesale, and support divisions joined forces to usher in the long-awaited return of travel. After almost 36 months of COVID lockdowns and travel restrictions, our people were more than happy to collectively celebrate the return of travel in person at an end-of-financial year conference. The event acknowledged the company’s resilience and ability to overcome adversity, while recognising how powerful the business’s NZ ‘flightie’ spirit is.
All parts of the business attended the day and night event that went ahead at Vodafone’s Head Office at Smales Farm. It was the first time in 30 years that all retail stores in NZ have been closed on the same day. This wasn’t just any conference for FCTG NZ, this was an historic event to kickstart the return of an industry that was all but decimated by COVID. Connection, engagement, inspiration and celebration was the order of the day with a Maori welcome by Jen Dennekamp to start the conference and a mighty celebration party at The Royal Yacht Squadron wrapping up activities with a bang.
Kia ora e te whānau kui tae mai nei i tēnei rā ka whakanui i te tau kua mutu nei, me ngā tau ka haere mai tonu, tēnei te mihi ki a tātou katoa
Hello everyone who has arrived here today to celebrate the year that has finished, and the years still to come, thank you all
e tū mō te karakia tīmatanga o tēnei hui
Please stand for the opening prayer for this meeting
Manawa mai te mauri nuku
Manawa mai te mauri rangi
ko te mauri kei au, hei mauri tipua
ka pakaru mai te pō
Tau mai te mauri!
Haumi e, hui e, taiki e!
Gather the life force of the earth
Gather the life force of the sky
The life force within us is powerful
and can shatter all darkness
come, mighty life force!
Gather together, move together!
Nō reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa, e noho mai
So, thank you, thank you to us all, please be seated
Logan Dodds - Guest Speaker
Guest speaker and NZ-born photographer, videographer and social influencer Logan Dodds gave an inspirational account of his life travelling the world and overcoming the many adversities that strike while travelling abroad. The talented photographer from Whangaparoa, who left school at 16 years, told the audience his love of travel was brought on by the fact that his parents never travelled, which sparked his desire to explore the world. Like many in the travel industry, Logan was heavily impacted when countries shut down due to the pandemic. But his resilient spirit drove him to use the situation to his advantage, and travel around NZ for a few weeks in a campervan to immerse himself in the local culture. The trip inspired him to create a video called ‘kõrero ki a koe, e tāku tama’. His message of being proud of who you are, where you come from and where you are going, perfectly paralleled much of the conference content.
Brighter Futures with the Flight Centre Foundation
Guests heard how FCTG NZ’s ‘Brighter Futures’ Committees were all working hard to create a more positive, inclusive and sustainable path forward for the company. The Diversity, Inclusivity and Equality Committee currently has plans underway to help the organisation focus on unity. The committee is implementing strategies to create more equitable distribution of opportunities across leadership as well as diverse recruitment, more inclusive career development, biculturalism and inclusive collaboration. An update on the work of the Flight Centre Foundation detailed that over $235K had been donated to charities in New Zealand via channels like Workplace Giving, where funds go to charities that are chosen by staff with all donations matched dollar for dollar by the Foundation. The business continues its partnership with The Mental Health Foundation and long-term relationship supporting the Halberg Disability Trust.
Staff also were reminded they have one paid volunteer day per year. The feel-good stuff didn’t end there though … on the day, lunch was supplied to 420 people, which meant another 420 meals were purchased as part of the Eat My Lunch initiative, which then were given to Kiwi kids who would otherwise go without. Instead of trophies or plaques, FCTG award winners had a tree planted on their behalf via the travel organisation’s partnership with Trees That Count.
Keeley Alton, General Manager of FCTG’s corporate division in NZ, Heidi Walker, FCTG NZ’s General Manager of Leisure and Kristill Loxton, General Manager of People and Culture, spoke to the importance of leaving a meaningful and positive legacy on the industry with help from the company’s values and core philosophies.
Pride in our Achievements
And while profit may not have been the measure of success during the last two years, FCTG NZ’s Managing Director, David Coombes said NZ was leading the charge for the global travel giant with the business’s core stats showing -:
- 90% staff retention
- 95% corporate customer retention
- 85% of newbies are staff returning to the company following COVID
- Novice training has recommenced
- Winner of the 5-star employer of Choice Awards 2022 (Human Resource Director Awards)
“Our national management team is so tremendously proud of our people,” David said. “Our secret sauce in NZ is our Kiwi Flightie spirit. No other country has this. Combine this with our can-do attitude, resilience, care for each other and ability to keep moving forward has helped us to ride out the wave of challenges and come back stronger than ever to be our customer’s #1 choice in travel.”
David went onto say how grateful the company was to have had the support of their sponsors for the special event which included tech giants Sabre, The Travel Corporation, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Humm, AMP and Cover-More.