Excellence Award finalists revealed - they need your vote

Date Posted: 01/07/2013

Pictured: (from top left and clockwise) Janet Fielding, Jennie Willis, Frankie Read, and Elizabeth Mounser.

We can now reveal the four finalists for this year’s Excellence Award, as nominated by you.

What is The Excellence Award? Presented at the annual Group Leisure Awards ceremony, The Excellence Award seeks to recognise outstanding service to GTOs by individuals within the group travel trade.

Now in its sixth year, we look to shine the spotlight on those who work for and with group travel organisers, from tour operators, theatres, hotels, coach companies, attractions, tourist boards, ticketing companies, etc.

Our finalists have been nominated by GTOs and chosen by the Group Leisure team, based on the experiences and information our readers have shared with us.

If you have worked with a finalist and think they deserve the award, based on the service they have given you as a group travel organiser, vote for them. Back up your vote by explaining, in no more than 50 words, why you have chosen them.

Deadline for votes to be received: 12th August 2013

Update: Voting has now closed but feel free to find out more about our finalists below...

Janet Fielding, Diamond Shortbreak Holidays / The River Cruise Line
Job title:
Group Travel Coordinator 

Job role: “I have been involved in group travel for a number of years with Diamond Group Travel and love every aspect of it. From meeting group leaders and understanding their requirements to delivering the perfect break, I enjoy getting involved in every aspect of the group holiday experience. I visit as many groups as possible for personal visits or for presentations; arrange meetings at exhibitions and attend travel shows; and participate in as many familiarisation trips as possible to pass on my personal knowledge and experience. I help decide which of our products would best suit a group, I administer each booking and ensure the best price is presented with the relevant benefits.” 

What does Janet love about her job? “It has to be meeting group leaders. Diamond Group Travel has GTOs scattered throughout the whole of the UK and whilst I endeavour to meet as many as possible, often a lot of my work is done over the phone. Putting the name to a face is the most pleasurable aspect of my role as I get to share my genuine enthusiasm for all things group travel with someone who enjoys what they do. The sense of satisfaction I have in delivering a unique and bespoke experience is fantastic and I am proud of what we do at Diamond Group Travel. I am always looking forward to new challenges, meeting more group leaders and building on the success we have with our current group leaders, many of which have become good friends - all of this is another day at work for me.”

Elizabeth Mounser, Continuum Leading Attractions*
Job title:
Group Sales Manager

Job role: “For the last two years I have been responsible for the group bookings team at Continuum Leading Attractions. My role is to work with our attractions across the country and directly with GTOs in order to make sure we deliver the best possible group visitor experience at the best value. I spearhead a fantastic team and have the pleasure of working closely with GTOs every day. On a day-to-day basis I am responsible for looking after group bookings and guaranteeing that they are facilitated as easily and efficiently as possible. I am also in charge of developing new business opportunities and communicating what we offer.”

What does Elizabeth love about her job? “I love the fact that it provides such a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and deliver new experiences. When groups leave our attractions having enjoyed the memorable place and the engaging stories we tell, then I gain the satisfaction of having succeeded. I truly believe in our six great sites across the country and love welcoming people to them. Hearing positive feedback from groups who have been is wonderful. Every day there are new challenges and experiences ahead of me and I look forward to what each one will bring and making the most out of them. Last but not least, I love the people I work with - all the fantastic GTOs, our visitors and the team here at Continuum.”
*Including: The Canterbury Tales, Kent Life, Oxford Castle Unlocked, The Real Mary King’s Close, Spinnaker Tower, York Chocolate Story.

Frankie Read, Park Resorts
Job title:
Partnerships & Groups Manager

Job role: “I joined the team at Park Resorts 16 months ago. The role originally dealt with smaller groups but quickly grew to incorporate our large ‘solus’ groups who require sole use of a park and its facilities. The daily routine involves dealing directly with GTOs, helping them with any queries, handling everything from the initial enquiry through to providing quotes, making the booking, arranging contracts and liaising directly with the parks right up until the time of travel. I’m responsible for maintaining existing relationships with GTOs, as well as generating new business. Since taking over this role I’ve implemented changes to our practises including competitive group discounts and improved communication between our team, GTOs and our parks, which has ultimately improved the customer experience.”

What does Frankie love about her job? “New ideas and developments are welcome at Park Resorts, especially those that benefit our customers, so to have ownership of this area and be able to implement such changes has been great. I have a background in customer services and am always looking at ways to improve the customer journey and exceed expectations. Every day is different and presents new challenges, but when you receive positive feedback from a GTO it’s so rewarding. To know that you’ve helped make their job as an organiser a little easier makes everything worthwhile, and of course the best compliment we can receive is when a group chooses to come back and stay with us again.”

Jennie Willis, Success Tours
Job Title:
Senior Tour Co-ordinator

Job role: “I joined Success Tours seven years ago having never worked in the travel industry before, but customer service has always been a key factor throughout my working career. My role is to operate tours to the very highest of standards, and to maintain and develop relationships with not only our clients, but also our suppliers. I book flights, attractions, coaches, guides and work out timings and fine details for our clients’ itineraries. Basically I do everything I can to ensure our GTOs have trouble-free and ‘effortless’ trips. I love it when GTOs say: “everything ran like clockwork”, and their groups are asking: “when and where is the next trip?”

What does Jennie love about her job? “Firstly, I am very lucky to work with such a fantastic team of people. Secondly, how wonderful is it to be in a different country every day? When working on our itineraries I forget I’m in Wiltshire and am transported to countries such as Italy, Portugal, Austria, and all the wonderful places our clients visit here in the UK. Thirdly, how lucky am I to actually visit places such as Rome, the Amalfi Coast, the Italian Dolomites and Porto with the GTOs on our familiarisation trips; spend quality time with them and share with them the sights, the sounds, the food and the local culture. All of this was new to me seven years ago and this is why I love my job.”

Update: Voting has now closed, but find out about our awards night here.

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