I really thrive on receiving fabulous evaluations from assignees who have settled into their new location and are now really thriving with their new life. I absolutely love solving problems for our clients and ensuring that those key personnel that they want to move are thoroughly looked after – says Anna Kavelj, Managing Director at Elite Woodhams Relocation.
Anna Kavelj, Managing Director at Elite Woodhams Relocation, has been working in the relocation industry for 16 years. She started her career in 2004 when she gained a First-Class Honors Degree in Chinese & Linguistics and relocated to Shanghai, China. There, she fortuitously started her career in the rapidly-growing market of global relocation to China.
Afterwards, she relocated again, to both Sydney & Melbourne, joining Woodhams Relocation Centre in 2010. Anna is passionate about providing exceptional relocation solutions to organisations, their employees and their families from around the world. Helping people quickly assimilate to their new location, allows them to get on with the job they were hired (and relocated) to do and ultimately saves time & money for the employer.
In this interview, Anna Kavelj answers industry-related questions and shares how they survived the ups and downs and retained their clients. Whether you have been in the industry for years and want to hear some little-known facts about Reloc8 Asia Pacific Group partners, or you’re just starting out and are looking for insight from veterans of the industry, this interview is for you.
How did you come up with the name Elite Williams Relocation?
Elite Woodlands Relocation was formed out of the merger of two businesses, Elite Executive Services and Woodhams Relocation Centre. When we merged, we wanted to retain the brand equity that we'd built up over so many years of each of the legacy businesses. And so, because we were amazing, Elite stuck, and because it was founded by Nick and Elizabeth Woodhams, Woodhams stuck: Hence Elite Woodlands Relocation.
How do you build a consistent and successful customer base?
If you do a really good job every single time, you're far more likely to retain your customers over a long period of time. We're not saying that things don't go wrong, they're absolutely do in relocation. But if you do your very best to meet the scope of what the customer has asked you to do, and really try and get to know the client and treat them as an individual, not as a cookie cutter production line, they're far more likely to be invested to return to you later on.
If you do a really good job every single time, you're far more likely to retain your customers over a long period of time.
How do you market your business and which tactics have been the most successful?
I have to say in our industry, it seems that word of mouth referral is the by far the most productive way of marketing our business. We find people move on to different companies and they take us with them. In a global context, attending industry conferences is invaluable. It helps to build that personal relationship with people that you don't otherwise see on a regular basis. Being a part of industry groups such as EuRA or the Worldwide ERC helps and as well as regional groups, such as Reloc8 Asia Pacific are great ways to market your business.
What kind of culture exists in your company? And how did you establish it?
We very much strive to forge a culture of friendly professionalism. We are professionals in what we do and we do what we do very well. We're always here to be the guiding hand and to be empathetic to all our customers. Whether that's meeting the needs of HR or the clients, the relocation management companies, or the person that's relocating themselves. An approach of “You can come and talk to us, we're here to listen, we will tailor things to your needs”, is how we've always tried to lead the business.
We very much strive to forge a culture of friendly professionalism.
What motivates you to work in relocation?
I really thrive on receiving fabulous evaluations from assignees who have settled into their new location and are now really thriving with their new life. I absolutely love solving problems for our clients and ensuring that those key personnel that they want to move are thoroughly looked after.
What is the best aspect about being in the relocation industry?
There are a lot of things I love about working in this industry. I think probably my favourite is meeting people from all over the world and understanding their culture and what drives them. Whether that's the assignees we look after or the people I know from the industry. I don't see them very often, so it's really great to have friends all over the world.
There are a lot of things I love about working in this industry. I think probably my favourite is meeting people from all over the world and understanding their culture and what drives them.
What has been your most satisfying moments in business?
I have a lot of satisfying moments. Working in this industry, I think my most satisfying so far must be the successful merger of Elite Executive Services and Woodhams Relocation Centre to create EWR on 1st March this year. It's been wonderful to create the brand and to really forge that culture whilst maintaining consistency with our client base, albeit through a pandemic, which is not amazing. But that has to be my most satisfying thing to have successfully done that.
What piece of advice would you give to college students who are thinking of moving into the location industry?
I think what works well in our industry and is a real driver for success is when you can empathise with the people who are moving. So I would say to any college graduate that's wanting to get into the industry, travel to see as much of the world as possible, gain insights into other cultures and experiences and experience that yourself. If you cannot travel, maybe integrate with other cultures within your community. I would also say move out of home. Nothing like relocating yourself to understand what it's actually like to do it! Also, be prepared to be very good at time management and flexible.
I would say to any college graduate that's wanting to get into the industry, travel to see as much of the world as possible, gain insights into other cultures and experiences and experience that yourself.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be successful in the real estate?
It's got to be a keen desire for customer service, flexibility every step of the way and empathy.
As we've all had to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, what is the most important thing you have learned this year in the context of your industry?
Well, I don't think anyone could have foreseen a global pandemic looming on the horizon and certainly, our industry has been hugely impacted by closed borders and no movement. I think, though, having a desire to really look after the people who need your help has been crucial. Particularly at this time, we've had to deal with all sorts of unusual situations, and these are people that we're helping. We need to remember that: They're not just casefile numbers. The other thing I think I'd say is to really look after your team. Whilst we say we have a duty of care to our clients and our customers, we also have a duty of care to our own employees. So I think looking after them through this time has been a key focus of mine.
Elite Woodhams Relocation offering goes beyond traditional Destination Services, delivering end to end service including in-house delivery of Visa, Travel, Short-Term Accommodation and Expense Management services across Australia, the Pacific and beyond. With a combined 50 years’ industry experience, you can rely on EWR's international network to support you. We are immensely proud of our history and are constantly looking forward. We capitalise on our knowledge to innovate and create value for our clients and our industry alike.