Name: Richard Taylor
Position title: Co-Founder and Managing Director
Company name: The Travel Industry Hub
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the IT department of Galileo UK in 1999 and was struck by how friendly everyone was, to the point of wondering whether I’d joined a religious cult. As I interacted with more and more travel people, eventually in sales and account management roles with the company, I realised I never wanted to leave.
What do you like most about your job?
Our new venture, The Travel Industry Hub, is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. We know we’re onto a great idea that will genuinely bring happiness to people, and the challenge is to make it the success it deserves to be.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I took an offer to move from my comfort zone to become COO of a respected inbound tour operator. It was an immense challenge, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s given me confidence in myself to try new things.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Observing the all-round brilliance of Webjet’s Shelley Beasley, then my Regional MD Travelport, inspired me to move into a customer-facing role and for that I’m really grateful. Relationships and people are more my ‘thing’.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
I’m not mentioning the person above again – I’d never hear the end of it.
I was recently introduced to Scott Ricketts of Your Sydney Guide, and his passion for what he does and his infectious energy are something that perhaps you’d only find in travel and tourism. Our industries are full of people like this, and we should be grateful to have them around.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
We’re doing something unique in creating coworking spaces purely for travel, tourism and other associated industries. Coworking will grow enormously in the coming years as companies seek to avoid long and restrictive leases, paying only for the space they’re actually using that can grow or contract with them. It makes a lot of sense in an era of uncertainty.
We’re already seeing travel companies move into these spaces, but seeing some of these huge names in travel, tourism and even aviation get swallowed up into ‘general’ coworking spaces seems somehow wrong to me. How much more productive and happier could we become in industry-specific offices, promoting networking, collaboration and knowledge sharing? How much faster and more efficiently could a travel startup business grow, making meaningful connections with people they’d never normally meet? If we can achieve this, at a cost that’s appropriate for the incomes of our industries rather than decadent places only for the privileged few, which many general coworking spaces are, wonderful things can happen.
What’s even better is that coworking can happen in any location, on any scale. Our initial focus will be on cities, but we’re also hoping to link people in suburbs and regional areas too. Our surveys have told us that many home-based workers would benefit from visiting an office once or twice a week, so we’re looking to link those people together.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
I visited Korea last year en route to Europe with my four-year-old son. We were in Seoul for five days and I was blown away by the warmth we received. I’m planning a longer trip back there with the rest of the family, to see more.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
I once got off a train in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and was cleaning my teeth in the station bathroom. A police officer with a very stern look approached me, and I feared I was in big trouble. He thanked me for visiting his city and wished me a great stay.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Headphones, spare headphones and sun cream for my baldy head.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
I’d like to have travelled just about anywhere with the late Anthony Bourdain.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
I see a generation of industry people, for whom travel has been their entire working life, retiring off into the sunset and taking their knowledge with them. Whatever technological advances are made, we must not allow that generation’s relationship skills and customer service levels disappear with them.
We’ll also see massive changes in our working environments, an area in which I’m determined to make a positive difference.