The Travel Network Group will use its conference this weekend to update members on its mission to become a  ‘Centre of Excellence’ for the trade with masterclasses on customer service and marketing.

The three-day event in Budapest, themed ‘Beyond the Expected’, will also include workshops on product training, emotional intelligence, social media, PR and Brexit.

The consortium will announce a new recruitment strategy for members, details of its technology development, and its vision and targets for the next year.

Chief executive Gary Lewis said: “We will focus on specific areas where we can bring our expertise and share it with our members to help them deliver an experience for their customers that’s beyond the expected.

“We want to elevate the conversation beyond the day‑to-day detail, help them think differently and return to their businesses with a renewed energy.

“We are building a Centre of Excellence, an amazing resource where members can learn specific skills from us to grow their businesses, which will be different for each member.”

Workshops, which will take place on Saturday afternoon, will also include options to focus on regulations such as GDPR, the package travel regulations and Brexit. The conference takes place the week before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU, and Lewis said lawyers specialising in Brexit, such as Fieldfisher’s Rhys Griffiths, would give up-to-date advice to members.

“Brexit is constantly evolving so we’re ready to adapt the schedule if we need to,” added Lewis.

Five of the group’s members, from different-sized agencies,  will take to the stage in a panel discussion to share experiences and advice on how to grow their businesses.

Group to hand out two special awards

Two special awards will be handed out to members of The Travel Network Group at the conference who have gone ‘Beyond the Expected’.

The new awards will be given out at conference host hotel the InterContinental Budapest on the final night of the three‑day event, following a gala dinner at neoclassical concert hall Vigado.

There are also five member awards that are given out at each conference, as well as 14 awards handed to business partners of the consortium.

The guest speakers set to inspire

Rachel Woolf is a former Team GB World Rowing Championshipmedallist turned coach and facilitator for leadership development consultancy Complete Coherence, which works with The Travel Network Group’s management team. She will speak about how to improve relationships with customers and colleagues.

Brendan Hall skippered a racing yacht to victory in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and puts the team’s success down to having the most-engaged team rather than the best sailors. Lewis said: “Brendan’s incredible story shows how having a clear vision can help you achieve beyond what is expected.”

Bonita Norris went from novice climber to being the youngest person to reach the summit of Everest and the North Pole. She will speak about harnessing self-belief and taking on the seemingly impossible. Lewis said: “We love Bonita because she is down to earth and people can relate to someone who has achieved something incredible.”