Previously the Senior Director of U.S Sales for Trafalgar, Peter Worthing now joins G Adventures as the U.S Vice President of Sales. A seasoned travel industry veteran, Peter is driven by a passion for travel sparked from a young age. With 15 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry building relationships and teams, Peter currently joins a group of regional sales managers as well as private group specialists with G Adventures that provide support to the travel agent community. Read on to learn more about Peter Worthing, and his role with G Adventures.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Your current role of U.S Vice President of Sales with G Adventures has you with not only regional sales managers, but private group specialists throughout the Unites States. How do you think your previous experience as Senior Director of Sales will help you oversee such a spread out team? Is this similar to operations in your previous position?
Peter Worthing (PW): Managing a diverse and geographically disparate team is something I know well. It is best handled through regular one on one chats with my team members as well as weekly team calls where were share successes and best practices. I also still believe strongly in getting out in the field with the team to watch how they interact with the agent community, there is still no substitute for that. These simple tactics, along with regular use of digital connection tools such as Slack, Zoom, and Salesforce, really help us to build community and reduce the challenge of distance.
Insofar as the question of groups, the greatest difference between my current role and past is the group size. In my previous roles in motor coach touring we were tasked with filling nearly 50 seats – now with G Adventures’ smaller group size, a private group can be as few as eight passengers. This changes the dynamics dramatically, but it’s a welcome shift. It allows us to build closer relationships with affinity and education groups, and better serve our customers.
TRO: Can you give us some insight into your day to day responsibilities and activities? Is each day a little different from the last, or is every day the same?
PW: Certainly every day is different, I always begin reviewing the team’s numbers over my morning coffee – I always want to know exactly where we stand to our goals. If I am in the office, there are meetings with marketing, operations etc. & calls with our agency partners. When I am on the road it is typically for a conference or to travel with a team member to meet with our incredible partners. In either case, it’s my job to challenge, coach, inspire and recognize the contributions of our passionate inside sales staff, who are often on the road and away from friends and family. Two of our company’s core values challenge us to “Lead with Service” and “Create Happiness and Community”. Supporting my team in building this engaged community in a customer-first way is central to my role, along with meeting and exceeding our sales targets, of course.
TRO: What are you looking forward to most about your role as U.S Vice President of Sales? Is there any particular project or region you are excited to work with and provide support for? Is there anywhere you hope to branch out to?
PW: G Adventures is such a young and dynamic company; our core values are not just words on a page. We live and breathe them every day and this keeps me motivated. The idea of using travel as a force for good is forefront in everything we do and I simply love helping to spread that message. It’s the “why” behind our brand.
Insofar as regions go, it is soon too to tell. One thing I really want to work on is better outreach and service to support the growing number of home-based agents. That’s not to say the brick and mortar travel agencies aren’t also high on our priority list. They are. That’s why we invest so much in our consortia partnerships and education programs. However, finding and building relationships with home-based agents will require some more creative strategies.
TRO: With 15-years of experience building teams and partnerships within the tourism and travel sector you must be an arsenal of knowledge! Is there any one specific lesson learned or piece of advice you could give to someone interested in breaking into the sales market?
PW: It is really quite simple: be responsive. There are many ways to communicate and therefore no excuse for not getting back to someone in a timely manner. I was blessed to have some incredible mentors in this business and among all the lessons I learned, this one has probably served me best.
TRO: Your love for travel stemmed from a trip to London as a teen. How has your passion for travel blossomed since then? Has working within the industry strengthened your wanderlust?
PW: Without a doubt, that first trip to London with my high school soccer team truly changed my life. It took me a few years to find my way into the travel business but once I did it was a match made in heaven. My trips abroad have helped me discover personal interests I may never have, otherwise. They have exposed me to an amazing diversity of cultures, but also helped me realize how we’re all relatively similar in our hopes and dreams. And they have allowed me to see first-hand the power of the purse to improve people’s lives, and how travel and tourism can (and should) play a powerful role in that equation. The fact that I get to talk about travel all day, every day, never gets old.
TRO: Traveling opens your eyes to new perceptions and allows you to view the world in a different way. Is there anything you’ve learned during your travels that will aid you in your position as U.S Vice President of Sales? How so?
PW: Kindness. There are countless times in my travels where people I have never met have been incredibly welcoming and kind to me. This gives you a wonderful perspective on life. One of our core values at G Adventures is: ‘We love changing people’s lives’. We do that every day when one of our travelers interacts with a local community or host, leaving them both better for the experience.
TRO: The current focus in your role with G Adventures, and of your sales team, is outreach, education, and sales support for the American agent community. Can you tell us about the educational process? What kind of information and processes do you use to reach out to potential agents within the community?
PW: What is most exciting to me is that G Adventures is relatively new in the U.S. agency market. Our relatively small team has been laying a strong foundation within this community for the past seven years, and the rapid growth they have achieved has been truly impressive. But we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible. Every interaction with an agent who doesn’t know us is an opportunity.
Prior to coming on board at G Adventures, my perception of this company was not entirely accurate. I mistakenly believed its customers and audiences were largely post-grad, active millennials who only wanted to travel on a budget. What a great surprise it has been to discover how misinformed I was! So, I know first-hand that most agents who don’t yet know us will be pleasantly surprised at what we have to offer.
Our relatively new partnership with National Geographic Expeditions and co-branded line of upgraded tours: National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures, is a perfect example. Our hugely popular and highly-rated polar expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, along with our small-boat river cruises and yacht and sailing tours to some of the world’s most beautiful shores, are others. Many of our customers are experienced travelers in their 40s, 50, 60s and beyond. They have money to spend and time to enjoy it. My team’s challenge is to help more agents understand these opportunities, while we work together to attract even more customers to our style of guided, sustainable, small-group travel, and help them see how their vacation dollars are doing a world of good in the destinations they love.
Insofar as processes, we have an incredibly engaged team of Global Purpose Specialists (Sales managers) around the country, training and interacting with agents every day. Much of that education is done in person, but they also host a series of eye-opening webinars that include sales tips and data to help agents sell smarter. We also have a terrific agent portal where you can learn more about our nine different travel styles aptly called Sherpa, please check it out.
TRO: Of the nearly 70 countries you have traveled to, which destination has been your favorite? What about it makes it such a stand-out spot?
PW: That’s always a difficult question however I always answer the same way. I am torn between Ireland (my first love) and New Zealand, not only for the physical beauty of their landscapes but mostly for the kindness of their people. My new position with G Adventures opens up a whole new wealth of possibilities, with over 700 itineraries to more than 100 countries to choose from. There is no such thing as a bad destination if you go there with an open mind and an open heart.
TRO: What can we expect to see from G Adventures through the rest of this year? Anything new and exciting on the horizon you can tell us about?
PW: Great question. I cannot reveal all our trade secrets just yet, but I can tell you that we are looking toward 2018 with the word “growth” on our horizon, thanks to the leadership of our founder Bruce Poon Tip. For example, we just added adventures in Hawaii and Oman to our portfolio of ‘Classic’ tours for the first time in the company’s 27-year history. There is huge opportunity and growing interest for both destinations. We are also adding and will exclusively be offering new sailing tours in Sri Lanka in 2018, to complement our line of other sailing tours in Indonesia, Thailand, the Maldives, Montenegro, Croatia, and Greece. Also, due to high demand, we are expanding our upgraded offerings into Africa and Asia, with fantastic new National Geographic Journeys into Southern Tanzania, Botswana, Mongolia and Borneo. There is a G Adventures tour for nearly every age, stage of life, and budget and we’ll have lots more news to come — so stay tuned to our new announcements!