Written by Brian Robertson, President, Canada West. 

BrianRobertson2019Think of a world where we could never go beyond our borders – no planes, boats, trains, or even cars. It seems hard to imagine, doesn’t it?

For those of us in the travel industry, that thought isn’t just hard to imagine, it’s nearly impossible. We transcend borders every single day, all because human beings recognized very early on that being stationary just wasn’t enough. The need to move, explore, and evolve has steadily pushed us further and further along. In fact, according to Merriam Webster, the word ‘travel’ can be traced back to the 14th century.

In this century, we’re on the move more than ever, despite technology that would allow otherwise in many instances. Corporate travel in and of itself illustrates that face-to-face interaction is often more effective than digital interaction.

The truth is, when we overcome barriers, push our boundaries, and come together, we can accomplish great things. I’ve been fortunate enough to see this many times throughout my 39 years in corporate travel. It’s one of the reasons I often attribute Vision Travel’s success to our team members.

Vision Travel, a Direct Travel Company, began as a small agency with roots going back to 1953. From there we merged with several agencies in Ontario, then in Quebec, and then Western Canada, to become Canada’s fastest-growing travel management company. In 2017, we merged with Direct Travel and today we continue to overcome barriers, taking on the global stage as Direct ATPI Global Travel. This growth wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and loyalty fostered within our organization, built on a true belief that our team members are the key to our success.

As I watch people from all corners of the globe come together within this organization, I’m often struck by their passion and commitment. More and more companies are going global, making true integration in the corporate travel space essential to service our clients. Yet, engagement and true collaboration isn’t something that can be taught, directed, or ordered. So how do we achieve it?

From my own experiences as an entrepreneur, business leader, and travel management executive, here are some of the main lessons I’ve learned about bringing people together on a global scale to truly transcend borders.

  • Diversify: collaborating with those who have different skillsets, backgrounds, and experiences than your own brings more to the table, benefitting both your organization and your clients in the long-run.
  • Surround yourself with people who are willing to disagree with you and share alternative ideas. A culture of ‘yes’ people limits an organization’s potential.
  • Maintain an open-door policy and be an ally for those who aren’t always comfortable speaking.
  • Actively listen to the needs of your customers and foster conversations that benefit them.
  • Structure is essential, but embracing flexibility and agility is equally as important to be responsive to the needs of your customers.

And finally, I leave you with this: success is the outcome of many, not one. With global business travel spend expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2022, it’s never been more important to collaborate globally in response to the evolving needs of our clients. Together, we can continue breaking barriers and pave the way to success for our industry today and tomorrow.


This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.