Manager, trade sales at Rocky Mountaineer
ONCE an aspiring professional sportsman, Steve Farrelly’s team mentality has crossed over into his everyday life.
“I strongly believe that business is a team sport, so I don’t want to be the guy that lets my colleagues down. Family aside, that’s a big motivation for me,” Steve says.
Starting out as a tour director for Contiki, he took some time off to experience a ski season in Banff before returning to Contiki to lead tours up and down the East Coast of Australia and throughout the NT.
During his time with Contiki, the “boy meets girl” story kicks in and Steve moved to Canada as a Contiki sales rep, but after agreeing “Alberta winters were just too damn cold”, Steve and his fiancé moved back to Australia in 2010, jumping over to another Travel Corporation brand, Insight Vacations.
Getting involved in many additional training courses and mentoring programs led him to complete an MBA at the University of Wollongong, and in August 2013, Steve become the national sales manager for Rocky Mountaineer (Asia Pacific). Steve has just relocated to Rocky Mountaineer’s head office in Vancouver as manager of trade sales.
Over the years, the biggest lesson he has learned he admits he stole from Virgin ceo John Borghetti, who says the most important person for him is the parking attendant who opens the gates to his office each day.
“Without that guy turning up to work, nothing gets done, so be humble and grateful
Without that guy turning up to work, nothing gets done, so be humble and grateful to all involved in success’ making your day a
to all involved in making your day a success”.
In his 12 years in the industry, he has seen it become “obsessed with cruising” and businesses cut back funding for sales reps.
“I believe tourism is still a ‘people industry’ so it amazes me to see cuts to travel budgets, training budgets, conference attendance etc. There is a theory that you can host a webinar, or pre-record a training module, but the companies that excel have a very comprehensive and robust sales team out on the road speaking to both the trade and front line consumer on a daily basis. I believe (product aside) that is their secret to success,” Farrelly told travelbulletin.
Steve predicts social tourism – the ability to connect, share, and comment live from a destination, tour or cruise – will continue to expand throughout the rest of his career.
“This is a pro and a con. I would like to see people more engaged in their experience and living the moment, rather than being on their iphone streaming the event, but I do see the flip side that it’s a fun thing to share with loved ones back home.”
The most valuable trait in the travel industry is a passion for people and the desire to provide the best possible experience for the guest. “I think people who work in travel also have a unique ability to adapt to change,” he says.
One thing Steve would like to see is recognition for the role travel and tourism plays in the economy and the multiplier effects that flow into local communities.
“It would be nice for tourism to receive the same level of national interest that mining or agriculture receives.”
Most memorable moment: Winning the NTIA Best Sales Executive in 2012 was a very proud moment, but graduating with an MBA is something that I will cherish.
First thing you do when you get into work: Buy a coffee, greet the team, and look at the numbers.