With over 30 years of travel industry experience, Jerry has been instrumental in creating and implementing corporate travel management programs and incentive/motivational programs across a vast array of companies and industries throughout the world. Jerry has worked with Senior Management at many of Carlisle’s clients, including several Fortune 500 companies. Jerry has been effective in significantly cutting the overspend in travel and improving client satisfaction within their travel programs. Jerry has developed marketing strategies to increase sales through motivational/incentive travel and has put together travel incentive programs that will last a lifetime for the achievers.
Jerry is one of the hardest working people in the industry and will stop at nothing to get the job completed 24 hours a day. His inspiration has been a true motivation for other employees in the company to achieve these same goals and provide the same level of service to our customers. Jerry has long standing relationships with suppliers to provide the very best for the customers of Carlisle. His creativity and tenacity and work ethic has been key factors in shaping Carlisle into what it is today. Jerry holds a BSBA in Administration from the University of Arizona and currently resides in Los Angeles County.
Travel Research Online (TRO): You’ve been in corporate travel for over 30 years and now work with Carlisle Travel, a family-owned business. What is it about corporate travel that has kept you around for so long in the industry?
Jerry Saxe (JS): Honestly it a lot of fun. You never know from one day to the next what will occur. Our company is always up for a challenge and the bigger the challenge the more rewarding it is for our company. We love difficult tasks, and we love to service our clients and give them exemplary service. No task is impossible! When we have a CEO who demands that we find them another flight immediately because their flight was canceled due to mechanical difficulty, there are no other commercial aircraft leaving, and price is no object; we are up for the task to find that private jet immediately to get them to their destination. It is the day to day changes and unknowns which makes it so exciting. Also, I have the absolute best business partners in the world. We have a shared intent for success, and being part of the family means there is trust and openness – which not many people have in this business. This is our recipe, and it has worked successfully for years.
TRO: Carlisle Travel has been in operation since 1941 and is still one of the top corporate travel facilitators in the industry. What are some of the ideas of evolution that keep it evolving as travel needs change?
JS: We have been forced to changed with the times, as many others have as well. We have to change to be competitive. Everything from service fees, reporting, and the transition to online booking; we watch the industry and quickly pivot our business offerings to accommodate our clients and stay competitive. This goes beyond the obvious changes, it includes always staying up on the latest technology and business trends to stay relevant and competitive. It is part of what makes this business fun and engaging over the long term. We will continue to change as the industry changes and evolves.
TRO: Travel agents, or consultants, have to consistently use a creative approach to problem solving when planning and monitoring the quality of a client’s trip. How is this process for corporate travel and leisure travel?
JS: Problem solving is never a ‘one size fits all’. The most important thing that we constantly tell our agents, on both the leisure and corporate side, is they are empowered to make their own decisions and to never be afraid to think outside of the box, especially when faced with difficult situations. This empowerment, along with constant internal communication among our front-line agents, has created a culture where we come up with very creative approaches and share these solutions with others. This sharing of ideas allows everyone to sharpen their problem-solving skills….”iron sharpens iron”, so even new agents get to see and hear creative solutions which encourages them to do the same.
TRO: Carlisle has about 25 IC’s that it works closely with. How does Carlisle view this relationship between host and IC?
JS: The relationship with our outside agents is one of collaboration and an invested interest in success. We feel that sets us apart from the competition as we are always there for our IC’s, 24/7. We are not a “card mill”, allowing anyone who thinks they want to be in the travel industry to have a card and represent us. We go through a thorough vetting process to ensure that every agent we bring on board has what it takes to be successful in our company. There are a lot of people who dream of selling travel, but only a select handful will be successful. Because of this all applicants go through a multi-step process of qualifying: speaking with multiple people in our organization, agreeing to a background check, and then completing our various training modules to better serve our clients. We work closely with them and help them build their business so they can be successful. We want to be there for them and returning their call immediately and answering their question is so important. We are always looking out for our IC’s, as we will recommend vendors and add additional commissions if the agent forgets to take their commissions. We will also contact our vendors and go to bat for their client to get what is necessary for their client. We will go above and beyond for the agent.
TRO: What kind of resources does Carlisle provide their IC’s?
JS: We provide our IC’s with a lot of resources. We give them access to the sales support desk at the airlines and they can contact them as often as they like. With being part of a $24 Billion-dollar company, we have a lot of resources and connections in the industry that are really the best out there. We also give them marketing support, leads, proposals, management reports, online booking engines for their clients, and will assist on calls for their clients (either in person or on the phone). We have the best resources out there, with all of the bells and whistles that the industry has to offer.
TRO: One of the resources you provide IC’s is expert direction, like training tools and working with the IC to potentially become a destination specialist in their field of interest. This seems like a win/win situation. Can you tell us more about that?
JS: Through Travel Leaders, they have a Destination Connection Program which will link you with Travel Leaders suppliers for both domestic and international so that the agent can build a strong relationship. The vendor/partner is committed to maximizing the agents’ sales and awareness through marketing opportunities. There will be workshops, fam trips, webinars, and special certification and drive conversion by connecting qualified customers to the agent.
TRO: Your work ethic has been described as “stopping at nothing to get the job done”. What can customers and IC’s expect from you and the rest of the executive team at Carlisle?
JS: Simply put, “We stop at nothing to get the job done”. This holds true to our customers, IC’s and employees. When we all set ourselves to a higher standard it encourages success throughout the entire organization and it became infectious. This higher standard encourages success and our IC’s, clients and employees feel the success every day.
TRO: Can you let us in on any big plans for Carlisle in the future? What are they?
JS: 2017 was a year of investment in systems for our company. We implemented a new contract with Concur Travel and Expense, furthered our support of all 4 GDS systems, upgraded our hardware and software, relaunched a new web site, and spent time and energy investing in our people and training. These investments allowed us to end 2017 on a high note with increased sales and profitability. 2018 is building on last year’s investments, and we are now focusing on client retention and expansion though traditional sales and marketing and through acquisitions and bringing on stronger IC’s. If you take a look at our business today vs. two years ago, we are all astonished on how strong the systems and processes are today to support more business and sophisticated IC’s looking to maximize their efforts. We currently offer one of the most robust and aggressive Independent Contractor programs in the industry, and the feedback we receive from those who move to Carlisle is further confirmation that we have the right formula. Our IC’s are happy: they make more money with Carlisle, they are paid on-time, and they refer their friends. That is real validation and that is where we will continue to focus our efforts in the future.