In the midst of full-blown pandemic panic, for Eileen Coetzee of Reynolds Travel there was a rock she could cling to – her ever-supportive team of directors comprising Mary Reynolds, Irene Ferreira and Ricky Reynolds. Without a single retrenchment in the Reynolds Travel team throughout the lockdown period so far, Eileen says this resilient trio makes the perfect team, always keeping spirits high, with a ‘never give up’ attitude that rubs off on all their staff, even in the toughest of times.
Who are these three super-lifters?
Of the three, the first to join Reynolds Travel was Mary – who 40 years ago, all the way back in 1981, took over the business from her husband. What followed has been an incredible journey working with the most wonderful staff and clients, says Mary.
Irene joined the fold 24 years ago, which she says “feels like yesterday” – and is testament to what they say about time flying when you’re having fun. Finally, Ricky was brought into the company about seven years ago with the purpose of moving the company forward in terms of technology and keeping them ahead of the curve.
Steering the ship through turbulent waters
As has been the case for all in the travel industry, the last year has been really difficult, but Mary says: “Both Ricky and Irene really rose to the challenge.” From the outset, the directors made sure that the whole team had a voice when it came to making big decisions.
She explains that together with Irene and Ricky, they presented the staff with some really tricky questions and in turn, the team came up with some really brilliant solutions. “The result is that we’ve had an amazing sense of unity at Reynolds Travel with no-one pulling in another direction. When the team supports you and they feel as though you are supporting them, then it’s just a recipe for success and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.”
This approach was the natural course of action for Reynolds Travel, which has always prided itself in offering a relationship-focused, high-touch service. Irene explains that when the pandemic hit, it was obvious that they would take not only the clients and business into account, but the staff and their wellbeing too. “For us it has always been about the staff – after all, they are the face of Reynolds Travel,” she adds.
And once the initial shock had subsided and the big decisions had been made, it was time to refocus the team. “There is always a silver lining,” says Irene, “whether it’s vaccines or dropping infection rates, which means there is always hope. Each month, we set a new goal for the business, helping them to shift their attention away from all the turmoil out in the industry and instead on what we have always done well – finding new business, taking care of the business we have, while evolving and keeping with the times,” she adds.
Keeping with the times is where Ricky steps in, as he revels in the constant changes in the travel industry. He says: “We have always been a very high touch, personal business – which is Mary’s philosophy.” And of course, it’s important to keep those relationships going – but at the same time you can’t ignore the technology side of the business. Finding that perfect spot in the middle where deep personal relationships are enhanced by technology is where the business wants to be – and the pandemic hasn’t changed that at all.
What the means for Reynolds Travel in the months ahead will be expanding the business into new directions, including expense management, especially in these times where clients are more focused than ever on savings. “I am so excited about this,” says Ricky, “because it’s not just technology for the sake of technology – it’s in line with our clients’ needs.”
And in the meantime – this team of super-lifters are counting the days until the full team can be back in the office. “I miss the buzz and excitement of the office. It’s a very energetic and alive place and I’m missing that most,” says Irene. “That, and visiting clients face to face,” she adds.
Watch Sue’s conversation with the Reynolds team here.