Robert Keddy is opening new markets for his agency, All-Travel, which hired him as vice president of business development to create a new customizable FIT program for the South Pacific and Iceland. He has already launched a new, standalone website for the South Pacific (www.ausdownunder.com), and he is now migrating from a full-time development role to a sales and advisor role based out of his home in Palm Springs.
“Beyond product, I have developed training programs and a new website, along with social strategies, and now I have the opportunity to sell what I’ve created,” Keddy says.
The new FIT program represents a shift in the way Los Angeles-based All-Travel approaches its clientele. Keddy says that, in the past, the agency has heavily focused on luxury cruise and tour products, and the majority of its customers have tended to be Baby Boomers. Going forward, the agency will be able to encourage its current client base to travel in a more adventurous way, as well as focus more on experiences people are passionate about, rather than their age demographic. The new program is an opportunity to grow the agency’s client base by providing product and experience ideas that clients had not even thought about.
“I’m very passionate about creating itineraries that immerse the traveler into the culture and local color and flavor of a destination,” Keddy says.
Developing a new South Pacific and Iceland program is the culmination of a long and varied career in the travel industry. Keddy started working as a travel advisor in 1987, just three years out of college, for Canadian Universities Travel Services (Travel CUTS), where he spent 21 years: 10 years as a travel advisor and branch manager, and 11 at the head office in roles in distribution, industry relations and marketing.
“Student and youth travel was an incredible place to be in those years, helping plan year-long backpacking trips; opening new destinations like Vietnam and Cambodia; organizing work abroad experiences; and being involved in student travel organizations around the world,” Keddy says. “I forged friendships that I’m happy to say are still an important part of my life today.”
In 2007, Keddy’s next career move really began to lay the groundwork for his current project. He left Travel CUTS to become sales director, Canada, for Icelandair, opening Toronto as a new gateway before moving to its North American head office in Boston, where he was sales director for North America. In 2014, he moved again, this time to Los Angeles, where he was the head of commercial partnerships for Tourism Australia, a role he held until moving to All-Travel. His time at Icelandair and Tourism Australia helped him develop extensive firsthand experience of both destinations: he’s visited Australia over 25 times and Iceland over 35.
Keddy’s next move after the launch of the FIT program is to begin developing specialized group trips themed around food and wine, sports and culture.
“In order to increase business you really have to leverage current relationships and build new ones,” Keddy says. “[Get] involved in your community, join social groups, volunteer and always, when the topic of travel comes up, ask if they already have an advisor they work with. You are always working, looking for the next great client or clients to work with.”