TORONTO — John Feenaghty has been named to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer of Goway Travel as the company focuses on long-term plans including the gradual retirement of Goway’s founder and President, Bruce Hodge.
Feenaghty’s mandate includes growth in all areas of the company, spearheaded by an anticipated surge in UK/Europe volume.
As reported in the Nov. 16, 2017 issue of Travelweek, Hodge says his goal is to grow Goway’s UK and Europe business to be as big as the company’s Downunder business – that includes Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific islands – in 3 years.
Goway is also looking at the ultimate development of a North American program. The latter will mean Goway offers ‘the world’, and includes plans to open wholesale offices in Australia and the UK.
Feenaghty has 25 years of experience across a variety of travel industry fields. His most recent tenure was with Flight Centre Travel Group in Australia where he held a number of senior roles over his 14 years. His broad experience covers retail, wholesale, product, e-commerce, operations and marketing.
Starting out in the RAAF as a flight steward nearly 30 years ago, John moved from hospitality to travel, with a career at the Queensland Government Travel Centre in Brisbane. A few years followed with Thomas Cook retail, Sunlover Holidays, and a short stint in the U.S. with an Australian travel specialist.
In 2003, he took over the Marketing division of Flight Centre’s emerging wholesale brand Infinity Holidays for several years. This evolved into key roles across the company, including GM of Quickbeds.com, SVP Product & Marketing at Liberty Travel (USA based) and GM of Product & Marketing with the Infinity Group.
“During my time in the USA, I was well aware of Goway, and am looking forward to moving back to North America to assume this role for such a well-respected company,” said Feenaghty.
Feenaghty will also oversee the rise of Adam and Bronwyn Hodge, as they assume senior leadership roles in the business. Bruce’s wife Claire, from South Africa, was a passenger on his last European tour, joined him a year after starting Goway. All four members of the Hodge family contribute to the success of Goway.
Hodge launched Goway in 1970 in Toronto. A former research economist with the Reserve Bank of Australia and European camping tour leader, he initially operated his fledgling business out of a two-bedroom apartment, and worked in a peanut butter factory at night to maintain cash flow.
These days Goway has offices in Toronto, L.A., Vancouver, Sydney and Manila, a staff of over 300 people and a reputation for providing customized experiential travel arrangements to long-haul globetrotters.
With the appointment of Feenaghty and other recent high-level executives, Hodge said he is not slowing anything down at Goway. “We are improving a well-oiled machine that is not only picking up speed but knows where it is going,” he said.
In 2020 the company will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“All I see are opportunities,” said Hodge. “I only wish I was 10 years younger.”