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When it comes to Penny Spencer’s plans for Spencer Travel, the sky is literally the limit. Spencer explains how with a bit of hard work, and a clear business plan, Spencer Travel became one of Australia’s few Virgin Galactic space agents.

Penny Spencer’s enthusiasm for travel is clear within moments of stepping into Spencer Travel. Her attitude is reflected in the inviting, colourfully decorated office. Surrounded by the warm colours I’m instantly at home, not that the managing director is at all surprised. In fact my reaction is what she often rouses from customers and staff when they enter the Feng Shui designed space. “The environment is very important,” says Spencer. “Everyone spends so much time in their office space; it should have the right energy, and the right feeling.” Without a single speck of grey, or an uninviting sharp corner in sight, I settle into my chair and listen to how this glowing mother-to-be went from stamping brochures to selling tickets to space.

Spencer always knew her place was in the travel industry, and desperate to get a start, she began knocking on the doors of suburban travel agencies, offering to work for free. Eventually she was taken on by Adventure World Travel, and before long hired as a Girl Friday to run every errand imaginable. “It was a good leg to get into the industry and understand the business right from the bottom,” says Spencer.

The dream of doing things the Spencer Travel way was in the back of her mind as she climbed the travel industry ladder, and finally, nine years ago, the dream became a reality. Since then, her corporate travel agency has recorded a growth of 500 percent, and an annual turnover of $15 million. It has taken Spencer 17 years to get to where she is, and she now offers her employees the same opportunity to work their way to the top.

A combination of training rewards and recognition, gives her team of 20 the right mindset, says Spencer, and leads to high retention levels. “It’s not just about being the boss and not acknowledging what they do for you, because they’re obviously part of the company too, and making it work.”

Knowing they have room to move, keeps staff motivated, she adds. Each year employees present business proposals as part of Spencer Travel’s Innovation Award. The applications are evaluated by an independent panel, and the most practical and creative are applied to the business.

And keeping staff happy goes beyond retention. Happy employees will provide a good service, which results in return business, says Spencer. “At the end of the day it is about relationships,” she adds. One of the core policies at Spencer Travel is that employees do not deal with customers they haven’t met. And Spencer even socialises with the MDs of companies that book their services. Read More

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