Words of Wisdom

Messages from some of our previous winners…

“Being a good travel agent is not just about sales, profits and yields”

“Once upon a time I was a travel agent researching, organising and booking travel experiences, promising my clients idyllic, effortless and memorable travel arrangements. Now, as the Cruise Director on True North, a 50-metre luxury charter boat circumnavigating Australia, I deliver on that promise.

“Whether a travel agent or a travel provider, our influence on a client’s or a guest’s travel experience is critical. That’s why the Avis Travel Agent Scholarship is so important – it reminds us that being a good travel agent is not just about sales, profits and yields, it’s about truth, loyalty and service.

“This Scholarship has had a significant influence on travel agents and has sometimes been life changing for those professionals lucky enough to claim the title. For me personally it has provided incredible personal development and professional opportunities.

“It is a unique award that reminds us all of the domino effect that can come from good old-fashioned, customer service excellence.”

Lisa Upton

Lisa Upton (2009)


“This scholarship is an experience that everyone should go through”

“Being the Millennium winner of the Avis Scholarship was not only an amazing overall experience it also changed me professionally and personally.

“I had been running my business for just on three years and felt like I had a lot to learn.

“The actual experience of going through the process of the submission and the presentation to the judges gave me clarity as well as challenging me in more ways than one. I was taken out of my comfort zone, but it made me really look at what I had achieved and what I needed to work on in my career.

“The trip was a great lesson in many ways. I learnt more about Avis, corporate travel companies in other countries, and overall it helped me grow professionally.

“This Scholarship is an experience that everyone should go through – it helped me grow my business, learn from my experience and gave me the ability to go above and beyond in all fields of life.”

Penny Spencer

Penny Spencer (2000)


 “I was able to learn from those who had walked the steps before me”

“As a travel consultant, winning the Avis Scholarship provided me with the determination and confidence to believe that there was no limit to what I could achieve. My employer at the time whole heartedly supported the Scholarship and recognised my ability internally, resulting in promotions and additional responsibilities.

“The highlight of my year as the 2004 winner, however, was the fact that I got to participate on the Avis Travel Agents Advisory Board. Being able to network regularly with influential travel industry figures allowed me to personally develop my career path while learning from those who had walked the steps before me.

“The Avis Scholarship stands for customer service excellence. Submitting my application to the Avis Board forced me to view my customer service attitude from an outside perspective, a skill that I now use on a daily basis to ensure that my service standards do not slip.”

 Tricia Lane

Tricia Lane (2004)


“The prestige continues to reflect positively on the agency as a whole”

“Winning the Avis Scholarship in 2007 created a wealth of opportunities for me.

“As I worked through the award process, I was forced to examine much about my role as an agent, why it was special, what I brought to the position and how much more was possible.

“The award renewed my confidence and was definitely a catalyst in my decision to open a second agency two years later to build on the Trendsetter brand in our local area. While winning is based on personal merit, the prestige continues to reflect positively on the agency as a whole.

“The prize was also put to very good use. I loved my two days with Avis in New Jersey as I learnt so much about the rental car industry from an operational viewpoint. I then used the car rental prize to explore Long Island, New York State and Massachusetts, all of which has been extremely useful in my capacity as a travel agent – as was the five-night stay at the Waldorf Astoria.

“Flying business class to and from New York with Qantas was the icing on the cake.”

 Adrienne Witteman

Adrienne Witteman (2007)


“The trophy sits on my desk as my daily reminder to keep delivering customer service excellence”

“Being named the 12th Avis Scholarship winner remains a proud highlight of my two decades in travel.

“It came at a time when the traditional consultant’s role was under increasing fire from advancing technology and altered customer expectations. Addressing the questions posed during the entry process forced me to focus on these challenges; to reflect on the direction our industry had taken, where I had come with it, and where we would both go in the future.

“My year as Scholarship holder was memorable, stimulating and rewarding – from participation in Avis Travel Agents Advisory Board meetings to visiting the Avis World Headquarters. Invitations to be interviewed on local radio, to comment in the trade press and to speak at conferences flowed on from my win.

“The Scholarship winner’s trophy sits on my desk, in full view of my clients, as my daily reminder to keep delivering the customer service excellence it rewarded, and to make it impossible for clients to consider making their travel arrangements anywhere else next time.”

Kim Hatherly

Kim Hatherly (2008)


“It gave me confidence to step from consultant to agency owner”

“Winning the Scholarship provided validation that all my hard work through training and listening to my clients was industry leading at the time.

“It also provided initial recognition within the industry and opened doors that were not available prior to me winning the Scholarship.

“It then gave me confidence to back my ability and take the next step from being a consultant to an agency owner. Since then my business has gone from strength to strength.

“I thoroughly recommend going through the process to any travel consultant who cares about customer service as it provides you with a blueprint of your strengths and also enables you to recognise your weaknesses, which you can work on to constantly improve your skills and productivity.”

Gary Seignior

Gary Seignior (2001)


“It took me a few years to get the courage to apply”

“Since receiving the 2011 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship I’ve benefited in ways I would never have expected.

“When I first learnt about the award I thought it was an excellent way in which travel agents could be recognised for their customer service, but it still took me a few years to get the courage to apply. I’m glad I did because the experience has been wonderful.

“Writing the submission about the service I offer my clients really made me understand what I do and how I can keep improving.

“As a winner I’ve not only enjoyed some exciting travel rewards, I’ve also grown 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.”

Claudia Silk

Claudia Silk (2011)


“The recognition was enormous for our business and it put us on the national map”

“I was nominated by a client ironically because of the way I handled an international Avis rental booking that went wrong in Los Angeles. Through this process the client became a raving fan of Avis and I became his travel agent for life.

“Professionally I had come of age and had the confidence to tackle anything and everything, and while on my reward trip to the US that is exactly what happened. I experienced the entire Avis customer service cycle, and learnt an immense lesson on ownership and pride – not in the product or what we sell, but the service and the memory we provide.

“The recognition from winning the Scholarship was enormous for our business, and coming from Tasmania it put us on the national map and became the point of difference from our competitors.

“I learnt that the service attitude I had was now the fundamental focus of our business and the rewards and awards flowed to all team members. As Winston Churchill once said, ‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference’ and that is customer service!”

Robyn Sinfield

Robyn Sinfield (1997)