Celebrating 20 years at Flight Centre Travel Group, Katy Cookney, Manager of Flight Centre Groups NSW/ACT, has built a career that has given her the freedom and flexibility to build a career that she truly cherishes.
Katy made her start as a consultant at Flight Centre Warriewood on New South Wales' northern beaches. She had recently returned home from travelling, living and working overseas and was keen to get her start in the travel industry. After two years as a consultant, she transitioned to team leader and went on to manage the team there for three more years.
At this point, Katy felt she had reached a point where she needed a change and left for a brief stint at another travel company. Not long after, her area leader got in contact about coming back to the Flight Centre as they were launching the specialist brands. Katy returned to the recently launched Travel Club, which provided leisure travel for corporate customers of FCTG brands, FCM & Corporate Traveller.
It was a big learning curve and put me on the path to other opportunities within the specialist business.
Katy met with the Group Travel manager, who thought she would be well-suited for a role within the team, and it seemed she was. She moved over to Groups, learnt the ropes and soon after transitioned into the Groups manager position.
Group Travel Experts like Katy specialise in crafting interesting & challenging itineraries for large groups of 10 to 400 people. For Katy, this is right up her alley. She loves that her team faces situations where they can think outside the box and come up with different ideas to create complex itineraries. She embraced the transition from being on the frontline as a retail consultant to a role in the Group Travel Experts Team allowed her to structure her day to suit her client's needs.
Katy reflects on some of the standout bookings she has had the opportunity to manage whilst in her role with the Group Travel Experts Team. She mentions working on a booking for 350 children for an interstate event wherein she coordinated travel from more than 20 departure points. As she managed this booking, there were definitely challenges, from arranging coaches and flights to all arrive at the same time to managing cancellations & preferences for all the travellers.
It's always so satisfying when you finally complete the booking and they travel. They even sent me a big group picture of the event and it's like, I have booked all of these people on all different flights and here they all are. That was crazy! Bookings with those high numbers, different departure points or different itineraries we love to see are the types we mostly do
Whilst in her role at Groups, Katy welcomed two beautiful children. She took the full 12 months for both her kids and always intended to return to Flight Centre. Katy found that due to the high-touch nature of Group Travel customers, they would remember her expertise and continue to reach out to her once she returned to work. On both occasions, when Katy returned to work, there was the opportunity to job share. Since bookings can be quite large, it is not uncommon for the team to share the load. Around this time, the Group Travel Experts team introduced the option to work from home for part of the week. The ability to take leave, work from home and return to a job-sharing arrangement made all the difference in Katy's career after she entered motherhood.
As her career with Flight Centre has flourished from frontline retail to managing a specialist team of Group Travel Experts, she reflects on what advice she would pass on to others wanting to pursue a career in group travel.
The opportunity is fantastic. You have the ability to do really really well, make a lot of money and enjoy what you do. I love the flexibility of the role, the ability to work from home and to be trusted to be autonomous and do our job.
Katy goes on to say:
"Flight Centre has given me the opportunity to prove that I can be trusted to do what I need to do when I need to do it and I really appreciate that. I mean, I have been here for 20 years, you've got to say that I like the company. I believe it can be really rewarding to anyone that is willing to put the effort in. It's not going to just come to you, but the opportunities are there, across a variety of fields- whether it's groups, Flight Centre Business Travel, front line retail - there's the potential for career progression."
If, like Katy, you are ready to build a career that affords you the freedom to succeed – now is the time to apply. With a growing number of roles opening in our Groups & other specialist teams across the country - don’t let this opportunity slip past you.
View all our over 500 open roles spanning 30 brands, 20+ regions, sales, tech, finance, and more - career opportunities are endless at Flight Centre Travel Group. - https://careers.fctgcareers.com
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