Worldgo Introduces Ben Livingston
Originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ben moved to BC as a child and quickly fell in love with it’s natural surroundings, access to outdoor adventure, and has grown to appreciate it’s long golf season.
Ben is an experienced traveller, and enjoys everything to do with exploring and living new cultures. Ben has spent a year in the UK, followed by 3 months lugging bananas through farms in Northern Queensland as a working part of a larger Australian adventure. Ben is an avid traveller.
We sat down with Ben to get to know a bit more about his role, his experiences and tips for clients.
Q&A with Ben
Worldgo: Ben, can you tell everyone about what you do at Worldgo?
Ben: For sure. I’m a corporate travel agent at Worldgo. I help business clients with their travel needs and requests. The role is quite personal, as we take all of our clients and companies very seriously. At Worldgo we’re transparent in the way we do our work. I give clients exactly what they’ve asked for, and then I offer other options based on my expertise, that might better suit their needs. We’re more than just their travel agency.
Worldgo: What’s your favorite thing about working at Worldgo?
Ben: I really enjoy how transparent we are here, and working so closely with the whole team, and seeing leadership every day, it’s very different from my past travel positions. Obviously, when working in bigger companies you don’t interact with leadership as often, so I really enjoy how connected it is here.
Working together is special. Everyone’s very supportive. We all help out when there’s work to be done. We all share the load, so I really enjoy working here – it’s like a family.
Worldgo: What’s the one thing that you do differently that makes your clients’ lives easier?
Ben: Well, if we have a client going to a city that they haven’t been to before, or some flights that they’re unfamiliar with, we provide as much additional information as possible to make the feel comfortable and to help make the best decision. We’ll do everything in our power to stretch their budget as far as possible and we’re fully transparent of what they are paying for. Whether it’s getting extra legroom on a long haul flight from Vancouver to London, or finding that hotel that’s got slightly better reviews, we’ve got our clients covered.
Worldgo has quite a few young and hip clients, and when they go to a city like LA or San Fran, they want to be staying in a hotel that fits their culture. If it’s a more traditional business class client and they’re just going for two days, perhaps they just need a Fairmont or a Hilton, something more traditional. We tailor everything we do to each specific client as all companies needs are a bit different.
Worldgo: What would you say makes for a good booking experience for a client?
Ben: Whether it’s an existing client or a new client, you treat them the same way. We start by reviewing their profile, and looking for preference patterns. We look at how they travel. It’s not just based on how the company travels, it’s based on what that traveller prefers. We talk with them, we go through quotes, we go through what they prefer, what they don’t prefer, and all other specific requirements.
From there we provide a detailed quote quickly and follow the client specific process to get everything approved and booked. It’s a start to finish process that you need to be diligent throughout. Our aim is to build a personal relationship with our clients and travellers and it starts with each booking.
Worldgo: What travel management advice can you give for a small business?
Ben: Set budgets, and understand opportunity costs. Does going a day earlier save you money, or does it cost you money from missing a day in the office? Honestly, whether you are a small business or a large business, this should go for everyone.
Worldgo: What’s more important for your larger corporate clients? Is it saving time, saving money, better reporting?
Ben: Probably all of it, to be honest. The money part for sure, but saving time is often directly related to money for them, so if they can take a flight an hour and a half earlier, and it could be the difference between signing a large contract, or not it all makes a difference. In addition, our clients large and small love our 24/7 support and technology.
Worldgo: If you were to grab a crystal ball and look at it, or look at the road ahead, where do you see the travel management industry going?
Ben: Well, I’ve worked as a corporate agent for about 12 months, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d worked in leisure travel before (as a travel agent) but I really wanted to try the corporate side because I heard it was more challenging and there was more to learn. I was interested in the customer service side of it because Worldgo is known to pride itself on being very customer service orientated.
To tie this back to the question, I think the future for corporate travel management is going to be the customer service part, what I came to learn. I like how well we can really look after our clients. In the past, I think it’s just someone calls up, gets a price and books. There’s no personalized service, no recommendations, no rapport. I really think the future for corporate travel will be in providing exceptional customer service. That’s where the value will be created.
3 Question Rapid Fire
Worldgo: Ben, but what is your favorite leisure destination to recommend to your clients?
Ben: Well, it depends obviously on the client, but if they are on the West Coast, I would say San Diego, it really is an awesome city. Also, if you are a golfer, like myself, I like to take off to Palm Springs, or do a week in Phoenix.
Worldgo: What is your favorite destination that you’ve ever traveled to?
Ben: My favorite destination is Australia. There’s an island called Fraser Island where it’s a National Park and they have beautiful beaches and you can 4X4 in the sand, and swim in crystal clear lakes.
Worldgo: Ben, is if you only had three days. Australia’s not going to cut it, it’s a long way away, but if you could leave right now to get on a plane for just a 3-day getaway, where would you go?
Ben: For three days, I would probably go down to Oregon and see the sand dunes on the coast there, or, go to Portland and enjoy the culture, the city, and the microbreweries. I know it’s quite a young, fun city. But anywhere down on the West Coast I’d say would be the best for a three-day getaway. California, San Diego, San Francisco, Oregon, and you could even do Seattle for a 3-day getaway.