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Meet the Planner: Romina Izzo, Travel with a Twist

Romina Izzo is the founder of Travel with a Twist, a boutique group incentives provider based in Melbourne. After spending five years in a challenging corporate climate, Izzo had enough. She said: “My creativity was just stifled there and I saw a huge gap in the market for quality experiences that nobody else could provide, so I took the leap”. Thus, Travel with a Twist was born. Here she shares with us her career journey and what keeps her passion for the industry alive after all these years.

How long have you been in the events industry?
For over 28 years now

Where did you start your career?

I was fortunate to start my career on Hayman Island back in the day when it was owned by Ansett Australia and managed by the Leading Hotels of the World.

What are you working on now?
I’m organising an incentive group to Estonia and Finland to experience the Northern Lights and of courses I’m putting my own personal “Twist” to the program!

Romina (left) with chef George Calombaris

What’s the best thing about your job?

I get to make my clients dreams come true, there is nothing more rewarding then to see to look of sheer excitement as their vision comes to life.

What advice would you give to someone entering the field?

Be organised, listen to your client’s needs, be creative and think outside the box. If you’re passionate and love what you do it will make the job rewarding and your clients will feel that energy.

And what advice would you give to agencies looking to attract and retain young talent?
I think it’s important to mentor and guide your staff, implement tools to help reward and encourage them to grow into successful event organisers.

What would your dream event look like?
It’s all about the “twist” with me always looking for that out of the ordinary experience you can’t buy-of the shelf. If I had my way I’d have a sit-down dinner on an ice burg in the middle of Antarctica!

Channel 10’s George Donikian was the celebrity host of one of Romina’s corporate incentive trips to the US.

Have you had any major event disasters? What happened?

I wouldn’t say a disaster as such, more like challenges along the way, which is why it’s important to surround yourself with a great team to help and support. We were in Florence around the time Northern Italy had just gone through some major floods. On our second last night, we were stuck in horrendous traffic (more than usual) and I get a phone call. It turns out the road up to the venue is closed off as the water still hadn’t cleared. I thought, ‘What!?’  Crazy panic thoughts filled my head. ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do? We had to be there in 30 min and I had 85 people sitting in 3 coaches’. Luckily, we can pull a rabbit out of a hat! With the help of great teamwork we managed to organise 12 minivans to meet us at a certain pick-up point to collect all the guests — who were none the wiser and thought it was all part of the show — and we arrived at our venue on time.  If you have a mobile phone and a great team and you can literally accomplish anything!

And the best event you have ever worked on and why?

I would have to say my Italy Incentive last September which was 18 months in the making it was one of the best Incentives I have ever put together. When you have a client that sees your vision, trusts your expertise, and has the budget to make dreams come true, it sets the bar to a whole new level. Even though it was quite a challenge from a logistics point ie: the itinerary constantly changing, numbers growing, language barriers, to have your client look at you and say “you have exceeded my expectations” is so rewarding and the reasons why I love what I do.

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