CA­REER IN FO­CUS

Travel Bulletin - - CAREERS - CHRIS HAMILL Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Drive­away Hol­i­days

1.ž What does your role in­volve and how long have you been in your cur­rent po­si­tion?

I have been in the MD role for five years. Self-Drive is a quick busi­ness so my role is very di­verse. I have a sign on my door that says: When peo­ple ask: “What do you do?” I say: “What­ever it takes.” My job in­volves set­ting the strate­gic di­rec­tion for Drive­away Hol­i­days in Aus­tralia/ NZ and then en­sur­ing that strat­egy is im­ple­mented with suc­cess. Along the way I work very closely with my team as well as deal with sup­pli­ers, travel agency part­ners, ad agen­cies, mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies and the end cus­tomer. My role in­volves “get­ting my hands dirty” and I would not have it any other way.

2. How did you start out in your ca­reer? Were you al­ways des­tined to work in the travel in­dus­try?

My first busi­ness card said “Of­fice Ju­nior” and that was with Drive­away Hol­i­days. I was 18. My dad was an ac­coun­tant so I was des­tined to work in fi­nance, how­ever I am glad I missed that boat!

3. Did you com­plete for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and do you think they are im­por­tant?

Af­ter com­plet­ing high school I com­pleted an As­soc Dip in Tourism Man­age­ment and Mar­ket­ing. This was im­por­tant as a start­ing point, how­ever 25 years of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence has given me what I re­fer to as “Street Knowl­edge”. “Street Knowl­edge” about the in­dus­try, busi­ness and life!

4. What do you love about your job?

Driv­ing to work each day I never know ex­actly what lies in the day ahead. That is what I love!

5. What were some of the great­est chal­lenges you’ve had in your ca­reer?

Be­ing in a rea­son­ably se­nior role at a young age pre­sented some chal­lenges, par­tic­u­larly around the time of Septem­ber 11, the Bali Bomb­ings etc. Tough times when tough de­ci­sions had to be made.

6. What fac­tors were cen­tral to your suc­cess?

1) Be­ing my­self. Be­ing up­front and hon­est. 2) Re­spect­ing those above and be­low me. 3) Un­der­stand­ing priorities and the im­por­tance of bal­ance.

7. Did you have men­tors, and if so, how did you find them?

My dad and my un­cle con­tinue to be my men­tors. My dad and I talk most days. Dad was a very suc­cess­ful ac­coun­tant work­ing 57 years with one com­pany that he ended up own­ing. My un­cle left school at 14 and went on to run Aus­tralia’s largest agency. With­out their guid­ance and sup­port I would not be in this po­si­tion to­day.

8. What are the keys to good busi­ness?

In my busi­ness, good busi­ness comes from great ser­vice. Ser­vice is very im­por­tant to our team at Drive­away.

9. What ad­vice would you give to oth­ers in the in­dus­try who would like to fol­low in your footsteps?

Talk to as many se­nior peo­ple as pos­si­ble and learn from their ex­pe­ri­ences. Read, lis­ten, and ask ques­tions. Re­spect those above you and be­low you.

My dad was an ac­coun­tant so I was des­tined to work in fi­nance, how­ever I am glad I boat’ missed that Be­ing in a rea­son­ably se­nior role at a young age pre­sented some chal­lenges, par­tic­u­larly around the time of Septem­ber 11, the Bali etc...’ Bomb­ings In my busi­ness, good busi­ness comes from great ser­vice. Ser­vice is very im­por­tant to our team at Drive­away’

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