Team of the Year Award
The Willow Team – Joe Etchells, Helen Wallwork, Sara Jennings, Sally Boulton, David Shenton, Emily Knagg-Byrne, Rachel Owen, Emma Hoyle
‘This special award rewards a group within Diversity that has made a significant impact or achieved significant results over the past year. This award recognises a team that has overcome significant obstacles and/or successfully utilised the skills of all members of the team and/or collaborated well with others.’
The Willow Team is one of our six reservations teams. They serve a specific index of clients and clearly work incredibly hard to offer their clients the highest level of service. Naturally we wanted to hear first-hand how they felt about being named Team of the Year at the Diversity Travel Staff Awards!
What went through your mind when your team was announced as the winner?
David – I think we were all shocked and surprised but also really pleased to have been recognised by the company.
Emily – I was very surprised but then I was immediately terrified of getting on stage and falling over in my heels – I didn’t though, thank goodness!
How long have you been working at Diversity Travel?
Over the whole team, we have a combined service of almost 30 years! Individually, some members of our team have been with Diversity Travel for over 10 years (almost since the start!) In contrast, some of the team have been with us for around a year, and our newest recruit has been with us for a month – as I’m sure you can tell, the Willow Team is fast growing!
What specifically is the job of the Willow team? / What makes it different to other reservations teams?
Joe (Team Manager) – The Willow Team work with a small number of clients, offering top class customer service to the dedicated travel bookers. This allows us to build a great rapport and maintain a 1-on-1 relationship with both bookers and the travellers. The team are always happy to go above and beyond to obtain the best possible results. Offering such a personal touch allows the clients to see us as a true extension to their in-house travel teams.
Emily – What makes willow unique is our clients. We tend to work with clients who have very particular needs or require more bespoke services, so our way of working is very different to other teams. The great thing about this is that no two of our clients are the same so it keeps us on our toes.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
David – My role comes with such variety with each task being so different. The clients are all different and I enjoy the challenges faced each day. I enjoy setting myself goals and hitting those targets, contributing to the overall performance of the team and company as well as supporting our unique and interesting clients with their travel arrangements.
Joe (Team Manager) – The most satisfying thing for me is ensuring that we can offer solutions and expertise to our clients’ many challenges, ranging from complex travel itineraries to offering the organisations cost savings. I have a fantastic team and it gives me great pride in watching them display such amazing customer service skills. Allowing the team members the platform to really make the role their own and ensuring their personality shines through to the client. Working with all the team members on a individual level and watching them grow as individuals through the business is a fantastic feeling.
Your team is obviously super successful and happy – what kind of factors make your team so special?
David – The people I work with are amongst the most dedicated staff I have worked with in my career. We are all on the same wavelength when it comes to high performance and excellent customer service. We have a great Team Manager who motivates us to constantly strive to improve, hit our targets and manage our complex client portfolio. We all have a good bond and work well as a team, sharing the work load, helping each other and making sure no one gets left behind.
Joe (Team Manager) – Nothing is ever too much to ask – they take everything in their stride and will do all they can to get the right results for the clients. The teamwork that they display is incredible; always offering each other advice and assistance throughout the day.
What did winning the award mean to you?
David – To be recognised as the best team out of all of the teams at our company is really special. I feel so proud of my team to win this award.
Emily – It was lovely for the team to be recognised particularly against other very strong teams. It made us all really proud to be part of the Willow team.
Most importantly, when are you going to enjoy your prize vouchers?
We are going to have a celebratory team night out and put our team work to the test at Manchester’s Crystal Maze. We’re going to go for a group meal afterwards to continue the celebrations – we can’t wait!
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