Welcome to 60 Second Interviews. Here you can get to know a little more about some of the business travel industry’s most successful buyers, suppliers, and practitioners in just one minute.
Back in July 2017, Paul celebrated 47 years in the field of corporate travel. Starting as a Junior Travel Consultant at American Express back in 1970, Paul has worked for some of the most known travel companies including Lunn Poly (now CWT), Thomas Cook, and finally as GM of Adamas International Travel. For the past 11 years, he has established his own Consultancy, with several clients in the FTSE 100.
Name: Paul KeeryFirm: Paul Keery Associates LtdPosition: OwnerHobbies: Watching Rugby Union, including my own team Mitcham RUFC.One Interesting fact about yourself: I once appeared in an episode of The Bill (it was a non-speaking part as Chairman of a local social club).
How did you get into the business travel industry?
I was reading a book on prospective jobs in the school library, and chanced upon the travel companies; American Express and Thomas Cook. Interviewed by both of these, I decided to join Amex at their travel agency in Mayfair. Later on my career - 23 years later - I even went back to manage the same office!
How has the industry changed since you first started?
I started in July 1970, prior to computerisation, so quite a lot. In fact, I attended the first computer reservation course for travel agents, Travicom, in 1977.
What does your role involve?
Advising companies how best to spend their travel budgets, overcome objections from travellers/bookers, and amending ever changing travel policies to reflect the changes in the world of travel.
What are you currently working on at the moment?
I’m assisting one organisation during their transition to a new TMC, and working on an airline proposal for another.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in business travel?
It was once, many years ago, quite easy to get a job in business travel, but difficult to stay because of the poor salaries. Some may say that not much has changed, but on entry, if you have good knowledge of world geography, you are computer literate, and have the ability to work hard under pressure, it’s a good industry to be in.
Additionally, if you are lucky as I was, you will find exceptionally kind managers who will mentor you and help you move on up.
Quick Fire Questions
1. What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working for myself.
2. What frustrates you about the business travel industry?
The resistance to change.
3. Where’s your favourite holiday destination?
4. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you?
A ball of string, a knife, and a large box of matches (I was a scout).
5. If I had that magic wand and could change one single thing, what would it be?
Nothing except my clumsiness, because as I write this, in a twist of irony, I fractured my knee whilst at the gym.
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