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Fam-trip friendships are good for business

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How people from different backgrounds stay in touch

Forget holiday romances – it’s fam-trip friendships that are built to last. TTG Digital talks to seven agents about bonds they forged on such a journey.

Take Sandra Vestjens and Tony Manning, for example. At first glance they don’t have a lot in common. Twenty-one years apart in age and separated by the North Sea, they don’t even share a mother tongue.

Yet Vestjens, 37, based in the Netherlands, and Manning, 58, based in Romford in the UK, bonded on a fam-trip to Darwin and Sydney in Australia in 2010.

“We’re both adventurous – that’s why we gelled,” Manning says. “Some of the others [on the trip] were scaredy-cats, but anything that involved jumping off ravines or underwater adventure, we were involved. We became a team of two.”

While friendships are often formed on fam-trips, very few have real longevity, explains Manning, who is employed by Hays Travel. “Everyone keeps in touch, but after a while it drops off,” he says.

But Manning and Vestjens have remained in contact ever since, and coincidentally ended up on another fam-trip together in 2013, to Cairns and Melbourne.

“We have the same sense of humour and the same outlook on life,” Vestjens, works for Tui/Reisbureau, says. “We have very different lives, but we are both passionate about travel and that kept us talking and we became friends.”

Last July, Manning visited Vestjens in the Netherlands, and the pair also recently met in London. In addition to these face-to-face reunions, they chat online.

“I see Tony’s Hays Travel Facebook page and he sees mine,” she says. “If there are any offers that may help my clients or his, we get in touch. He emailed me recently because he knew I had been to Aruba and I helped him sell a honeymoon to his clients. Plus he followed my New Zealand Facebook pages when I went recently; I know he has clients who want to go to New Zealand, as does he, so I hope that helps him to sell a trip.”

Manning adds: “Sandra has loads of experience. When you can pass on experience like that, it’s great. It’s good to have business relationships with everyone everywhere – you never know when they’ll help you out.”

TTG Digital

[pictured: Everlastings on Mount Hotham, located in Victoria, Australia]

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