Five Minutes With ... Claudia Maria de Menezes
Vice President and Co-Founder | GoPegasus
Born in Brazil to a family of trailblazers in the travel industry, Claudia Maria de Menezes was exposed to the world of travel at a young age. Her strong passion for the industry has continued to grow ever since.
She has worked in the travel and tourism industry for over 30 years and has professional experience in founding and managing various tour companies, including co-founding GoPegasus Transportation alongside Fernando Pereira.
Since 2001, Menezes has held the position of Vice President at GoPegasus, where she's responsible with generating revenue and increasing the company's market share, while directing the message of GoPegasus through various marketing efforts and promotions. Menezes also prides herself on building vendor relationships and managing a team of approximately 80 employees.
In early 2020, Menezes was honored by Women in Travel and Tourism International (WITTI) as one of the Top Women in Travel and Tourism, specifically highlighting her trailblazing and innovative business approach. She has been inspired by many women along the way, but none more than her mother, who she claims as her greatest mentor and role model.
ON CHANGES AND CHALLENGES
One of the most interesting travel industry changes I've experienced has been the evolution of booking platforms and search engines. I come from a time when I had to know how to calculate air fares and other services manually. When it comes to challenges facing the travel industry, general knowledge of agents is a big one. You can't only rely on what a computer tells you! You have to add onto a sale or execution of a trip or program, otherwise you lose big opportunities and become irrelevant.
The travel industry should rebound and people will now appreciate traveling more than ever. We need to change gears from just delivering what we're asked for and elevate the concept of travel by transforming any kind of tour and event into lifetime experiences. This could be done by incorporating experiences into the community and really highlighting the importance of tourism as the best way to get an education, have fun, and promote peace through experience exchanges while taking care of the environment.
Diversification and innovation are the reasons GoPegasus has continued to thrive and grow the past 26 years. Communication, building relationships and integrity are seeing the company through the COVID-19 pandemic—its toughest crisis yet. This would be my advice to a newcomer: Keep it simple, keep it right.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of Groups Today.
This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Groups Today.