2011 Winner

2011 Scholarship Winner: Claudia Silk

9 November 2011: Travel Counsellor’s Claudia Silk was today named the first ever mobile travel consultant to receive the prestigious Avis Travel Agent Scholarship of Excellence.

 “I was incredibly honoured to be chosen as the 2011 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship of Excellence winner and since receiving the award I’ve benefited in ways I would never have expected.

Besides enjoying some exciting travel rewards, I’ve been able to grow personally and professionally by taking part in unique education, training and mentoring programs. Through the Scholarship I’ve also met many inspiring travel professionals who share my passion for our wonderful industry.

To win this award you don’t need to be a talented writer or a great public speaker. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a junior consultant or senior manager, or if your clients travel for business or pleasure. All that counts is one thing – your enthusiasm for providing your customers with unforgettable service.

If you are someone who consistently looks to deliver a ‘wow’ factor, then put yourself forward for this award in 2012. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Victoria-based Claudia, who received the Scholarship at an official ceremony at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel, becomes only the 15th recipient of the annual award, which recognises and rewards consultants committed to the highest standards of customer service.

The 2011 Scholarship package offers international travel and career development opportunities valued at more than $45,000, including:

  • two Qantas Business Class return tickets to New York
  • six nights’ luxury hotel accommodation
  • seven days’ car rental from Avis
  • a first-year tourism scholarship at Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management
  • four ICCA cruise training modules
  • automatic admission to the Travel Industry Mentor Experience (TIME)
  • personal and professional business coaching with Polonious Resources
  • a one year honorary position on the Avis Travel Agents Advisory Board
  • a tour of Avis’ World Headquarters in New Jersey and site visits to US agencies.

The 2011 winner was chosen from five finalists, all of whom presented to members of the Avis Travel Agents Advisory Board during today’s final judging session in Sydney.

Avis Travel Industry Manager Russell Butler said it was clear that Claudia is someone who truly excels in terms of her delivery of outstanding customer service.

“I think what impressed the judges just as much was her obvious desire and determination to keep on developing and improving those already impressive skills,” said Butler.

“Claudia is someone who truly believes that consumers do not shop on price alone, and that talented agents can sell on service and develop long-standing relationships with their clients.”

Butler said it was appropriate that the 15th annual Scholarship be awarded to a mobile agent because it provided a timely reflection of the way in which the retail travel landscape had changed since the Scholarship was launched in 1996.

“In the words of one judge, ‘if today we saw the future of the travel industry, then we can be confident we are all in good hands.”

This year’s other finalists included:

  • Paul Moran, Manager, Travelscene Hampton, Victoria (Travelscene Amex)
  • Kate Staples, Travel Consultant, American Express Business Travel, Victoria (Amex)
  • Romina Izzo, Director, Travel with a Twist, Victoria (Jetset Travelworld Group)
  • Daniela Tatonetti, Travel Manager, Travelmanagers, WA (Travel Managers)

Click here to download the Press Release in PDF format (208 KB).