Keith Sumner Keith Sumner

Benchmarking against best

Successful travel industry management and teams need to be benchmarked against the best in business – not only in their own sector, says Keith Sumner, managing director of Gilpin Travel.


Gilpin Travel was named Best Brand Corporate – Single Location in the 2019 TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards recently. Gilpin’s Justine Beguely took out the Best Travel Agency Manager – Corporate title (the second Gilpin manager to do that in the annual awards), and the company also had a finalist, Jamie Gray, in the Best Young Travel Agency Executive – Corporate category. Sumner says continuous investment in people, systems and software is the key to ongoing success. ‘Both Grant (Avis) and Justine have been through the Icehouse course for emerging managers. Some of the skills they learn at courses like that are not things they pick up with the usual training in the travel industry. It is no accident that both of them have now won an award in TAANZ NTIA.’ Sumner says he has also put himself through a week-long Institute of Directors course. ‘These things require substantial investment, they are not cheap. But if you are not putting time and effort into your people – your most valuable resource – you are going to suffer.’

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