Celebrated former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward was one of the keynote speakers at The Travel Network Group Conference at the weekend.

He told delegates that while talent was important, attitude was even more so, and said leaders in sport, business or any field should be interested only in people with sponges, not rocks, between their ears – people who are prepared to listen, learn, change, develop and ultimately win.

So it was great to see new and long-established agents in Monaco keen to do just that. They included husband and wife team Roger and Helen Hawke, who started Newell’s Travel in 1962 yet are still innovating in their business by branching into new sectors. Then there was Mel Stephens, aka ‘Travel Queen’, who is just starting out with a new business focusing on selling women-only touring holidays. They were just some of the members soaking up advice from the main stage and business partners.

Similarly, just days before in Amsterdam, 300 agents joined the seventh Clia River Cruise Conference to absorb as much information as they could about different rivers, ports of call and the various ships that sail them.

So how brilliant to receive an email from one agent this week to tell me that team members who had attended the event had made three Scenic or Emerald bookings and one Riviera Travel booking on the ship they had stayed on, Emily Brontë, within 24 hours of getting back!

As Sir Clive said: “If you have a passion for learning and sharing with colleagues, think about every possible scenario so you’re prepared. If you put in hard work, you will succeed.”

From Travel Weekly, November 23 edition