Name: Richard Skewes
Position title: Director
Company name: Precise Travel Marketing Pty Ltd
When and why did you join the industry?
I started work experience when I was 16 for a South Pacific wholesaler called Orient Pacific Holidays in Melbourne. That later became a full time position (starting as Telex Boy) which gave me a passion for the people and the places of the South Pacific that still remains through every job progression
What do you like most about your job?
After 30 years of selling/promoting the South Pacific in one form or another it still never gets dull. There are always new people to meet, new things to learn, new sights to see and new experiences to be had. Even on the most mundane of days there is always something new happening. When things go bad, as they do, sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
This year is the Anniversary of Precise Travel Marketing – when I started, all my competitors were much older and much more highly experienced stalwarts of the industry I looked up to. But it paid off as I was the first providing representation to partners in many of the Polynesian countrys…….I feel I have managed to help many resorts and destinations over the years, and today I still have some of the clients I started with from day 1 which gives me a sense of pride.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
I learnt from everyone of my previous employers – they have all been invaluable to me. If you a looking for a catch phase it was my first employer, the late Col Willett, who said “don’t let them tell you it’s not possible”, But if I had to pick a major turning point it was Jerry Vette of Directions Marketing …… when I told him I wanted to start my representation company as a competitor of his he still showed me the ropes – he was exceptionally unselfish and I am forever grateful.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
There are many great figures in our industry I have learnt from, and whilst experience is everything it’s also amazing what you can also learn from those just starting out too – fresh eyes and new ideas can be a very welcome insight.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
Passion, loyalty and empathy is the key…. With 30+ years in South Pacific we have the experience, contacts and technology, but treating a clients money and reputation like it’s yours is paramount to mutual success
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Anything with snow – I have an undying passion for the South Pacific but I would love to see a big city in snow with Christmas lights just once…..not too many of them where I specialise. That plus PNG – the last frontier I haven’t been too.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
I do love those moments when you could be the only person on earth…..beit, on a sand bar in the middle of Aitutaki Lagoon, atop an exploding volcano in Vanuatu, or amongst a primitive tribe in the Solomons Islands. Those are the moments that take your breath away.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
1. The basics – toothbrush and a credit card
2. My computer – work never stops but I love it when I am finally out of reach
3. No expectations as then you always get the biggest, best surprises and greatest stories
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Destination anywhere with the late Anthony Bourdain……sharing a love of real food, real destinations and the real people behind it. Failing that Jimmy Carr as even if stuck in Cabramatta traffic jam you would at least still come away with a funny story
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
Customer engagement through automation – be it trade partners or direct consumers …. we can all be more relevant in our work if we can embrace it and evolve with it