Group Travel Case Study: Dick Johnson Penske Racing Team

Group Travel

DJR Team Penske is Australia’s oldest motor racing team competing in the Supercars Championship.

Group Travel

Scope of Work

V8 Supercar Season and Events

The V8 Supercars season runs for 9 months with events 2 or 3 weekends apart in tracks around Australia with one event in New Zealand.

Travel for race events meant travellers usually travelled on a Wednesday and returned on a Sunday or Monday.

Travel was managed by a dedicated V8 Supercar ‘Cell’ from our Gold Coast office and included the following requirements:

  • Bookings: Airline bookings were mostly made via the airlines’ groups departments or groups portal.  As soon as the yearly calendar was released, a number of seats were booked for each event.  Names were then advised to the airlines a few days before each event departure.For accommodation, bookings were made direct with hotels or accommodation providers by phone or email.  An allotment of rooms was secured, deposits paid if necessary and any special requirements were advised.  Some of the accommodation booked was regional due to the location of the race track.Team Lists: For DJR, we kept 2 rounds ahead. Airlines and accommodation providers have their own ‘name lists required by’ requirements, and part of our job is to adhere to those deadlines. These were diarised and we would then contact DJR to request the final travellers names list.
  • Last Minute Changes: Last minute changes are typical with sporting group travel. We handled these instances via our dedicated V8 Travel Team during office hours or direct with a designated V8 Team Consultant after hours. Education of DJR travel coordinators by our team helped all involved.
  • Key Learnings: When the V8 Supercars calendar is released for following year, generally in October we would book the entire next year’s accommodation.We would educate the DJR Team travel arrangers that changes mean extra cost.  That helped in discouraging changes and drove policy compliance and assistance from within the DJR Team.V8 Supercars aren’t the only event happening at any given time in any given city or town.  E.g.  Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne on the same weekend as the V8 Supercars. The Adelaide Fringe Festival which is a very large event runs over the same weekend as the Clipsal 500.  These clashes of events mean we need to be very quick to secure airline seats and accommodation and ground transport once we know the calendar of events.

Other important aspects: Confidentiality is a major priority for our business in dealing with corporate clients or group team travel such as the V8 Supercars. Professional sport is big news and we ensured our team and anyone involved in bookings maintained total confidentiality at all times.

Book all accommodation, ASAP after calendar release and consistent use of the same hotels and accommodation providers builds rapport and then easier to gain assistance with ‘favors’.

Regional locations like Bathurst and Wangaratta (Winton) have limited accommodation. Orbit is all about relationships and rapport. We treat all providers as valued partners.

VIP travellers such as team owners and many high profile drivers were managed as VIPs.  This entailed booking specific makes of rental cars, VIP room requests, VIP amenities with the utmost confidentiality.

Testimonial

The Supercars season hosts sixteen events across Australia and New Zealand each year.  In addition to racing in major capital cities, many events are held in regional centres like Townsville, Wangaratta and Newcastle.  It makes for many logistical challenges and complexities, especially as it relates to the transit and accommodation of upwards of 50 personnel.  The competitive nature of our sport demands that we forever chase performance on-track, which often requires last minute changes to our requirements despite best efforts at long term planning.  Nobody understood or served our needs better than Orbit World Travel. Their bespoke approach to our travel needs ensured that from an operations perspective, we could always defer to and delegate all our change and booking needs in the assurance that they would be managed and actioned every time without issue, last-minute, day or night. Despite having to consolidate our travel arrangements with our UR parent company in 2016, we still retain a strong relationship with Orbit World Travel and highly recommend their services.

Ryan Story

Shell V Power Racing

Team: DJR Team Penske

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  • Budget management – estimate vs actual
  • Tracked return on investment
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  • Budget reporting