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CTM shines brightly in 30 years of business travel

Corporate Travel Management (CTM) is pleased to celebrate its 30th anniversary, symbolised by the pearl. Pearls represent enduring refinement, reflecting the company’s growth and evolution over the past three decades.

CTM today operates across 4 continents, employing a workforce of over 3000 travel professionals, a far cry from the two-person Brisbane-based start-up back in May 1994.

As with all good company success stories, Rome was not built in a day. And for some business leaders, the making of an entrepreneurial mindset begins at home, as Jamie Pherous, CTM’s Founder and Managing Director can attest.

Taking a leap of faith and leaving a successful career to start a small travel business, he had no idea this was the start of something much bigger.

Join us as we look back to CTM’s humble beginnings, routed in family values and a drive to challenge the status quo, which has flourished into the successful global travel management company that it is today.

“The world is our oyster; there’s a lot of opportunity for us yet.” Jamie Pherous.

From little things big things grow

Working at an accounting firm, Jamie Pherous travelled around the world and witnessed first-hand that there was a gap in the corporate travel market based on three things. “The first thing I noticed was that large companies had to use one of four global travel managers and they operated like call centres and lacked any personalised service; the second is that there was no technology that truly added value, and thirdly, there was no sense of accountability or a return on investment, which is what a business wants. There had to be a better way to deliver travel management,” said Pherous.


At the age of 23, Pherous made a pivotal decision, leaving his well-paying role as a Chartered Accountant to work without pay for a small travel company for three months. Having been a successful Accountant, numbers were his strong suit, turning the small business around. The leap of faith and commitment paid off and a year later he bought the travel company, and so CTM was born.


Reflecting on those early days, Pherous remarked, “I was young and lacked a formal strategy, the internet was not around, and we didn’t have a dedicated marketing department, so word of mouth was the only mode of promotion, but I took a leap of faith and pursued it, nonetheless. We operated without a comprehensive branding plan; our focus was simply on delivering what our name implied; corporate travel management.”


Pherous, through his own experiences in business travel and conversations with fellow frequent travellers, recognised that early competitors in the market were falling short. He explained, “I believed that corporate travellers were spending excessive time, funds, and resources on their business travel. It became evident to me that a successful international travel management company could be established if I could refine the formula. We went out to market with the core values we still have today which is having very good technology that adds value to the traveller or booker, underpinned by good personalised service and lastly the ability to deliver a return on investment which means the savings our customers make outweigh the fees we charge.”


Commencing the venture was a challenging endeavour for Pherous – convincing businesses that they could provide cost savings by efficiently organising their entire corporate travel program proved to be an initial hurdle. Despite early setbacks, he persisted with determination and resilience.

The unequivocal spirit of entrepreneurship

Like many of us, Pherous drew profound lessons from his parents, particularly his father. “The entrepreneurial spirit was deeply rooted in me at a young age, thanks to my father, Michael.”


Pherous vividly recalls moments at the dinner table, even as young as 5, where he absorbed business discussions almost unknowingly. “My father imparted invaluable insights on the importance of a strong work ethic as a cornerstone of business success.”


These strong work ethics are what CTM was founded on, and the company culture is deeply rooted in the origin story. “Our people are our biggest asset and the heart of the company. This has not changed through three decades of operation and will not change in the future,” says Pherous.


CTM built its culture around three key principles; ensuring innovation and continuous improvement were part of the company’s DNA, setting a framework where ideas are heard and reviewed, and ensuring management implements solutions within an agreed timeframe.


The ability to challenge the status quo, ask questions and design travel solutions that would make a customer’s business travel better has transcended geographical borders, cultures and industries to deliver fruitful partnerships and meaningful results for CTM customers around the world.

Listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)

When CTM embarked on the journey to be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, it marked a significant milestone in the company’s growth. In fact, Pherous’s first passion was always to be a stockbroker, so it was destiny that CTM would become listed.


“I used to tell the team – we are going to list and when we do, will be in a better position to expand around the world. I remember the team at the time thought I was ‘bonkers’ and they used to just nod and say, sure, sure you will. They still laugh about it now,” chuckles Pherous.


This major milestone achievement in 2010 was made possible through involvement with the Queensland Leaders system and the support of various organisations within this framework. CTM was among the pioneering companies to emerge from the Queensland Leaders system, an initiative dedicated to inspiring the next generation of leading privately owned businesses in Queensland.


The decision to go public was transformative for CTM, catalysing business improvement. While the path was not without its challenges and ongoing scrutiny, the experience allowed the company to evolve and adapt. The transition to a public company brought about a positive impact on the staff, fostering a sense of ownership and dedication among team members.


Pherous shares, “When we first listed on the ASX, CTM wasn’t even ranked in the top 200; and now we are estimated to be around the fourth largest travel management company globally. The wonderful thing about being listed on the ASX is that I have had the opportunity to speak to many CEOs of other companies about their experiences and learn from that.”

Steering the ship through challenging waters

Steering a business is indeed a journey filled with valuable lessons. While the path may not always be smooth, it’s this very ebb and flow that shapes CTM’s resilience and ability to navigate the unexpected, fostering growth along the way. CTM’s commitment to innovation and continuous improvement stands as a testament to the determined spirit of the team.


Before listing on the ASX, CTM learned some valuable lessons and the significance of customer diversity; encompassing those with essential travel needs, in addition to having technology that provided value to businesses. This strategic approach to not having ‘all its eggs in one basket’ has become a pivotal factor in the resilience and adaptability of CTM in the face of global and economic events. It has also helped CTM customers benefit from its cross-industry experience by leveraging insights from successful travel program strategies that have been deployed across other ‘like’ organisations.


In successfully navigating the impacts of disruptive global events, including SARS (2002-2003) and avian flu outbreaks (1997 and 2003), the global financial crisis (2007-2009), and the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2023), CTM’s entrepreneurial spirit ensured solutions and services continued to evolve to support customers’ business travel needs.


Pherous emphasises the solid commitment to customer-centric principles, stating, “Even during times of disruption, you’ve still got to grow.” He highlights the core philosophy of the business model, centred around winning and retaining customers. The focus on customer needs remains paramount and underlines the importance of feedback, which has been pivotal in understanding customer needs.


“Our customers continue to rely on our teams’ expertise. This is a testament to the enduring partnership we share with our customers, who consistently seek our guidance in navigating the complexities of the evolving travel landscape over the years,” explains Pherous. This enduring partnership underscores the collaborative nature of CTM’s relationship with customers and the business’s commitment to providing unwavering support, even during challenging times.

Excellence in every market

CTM has been privileged to receive numerous industry awards over the years across 4 continents, each serving as a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard work exhibited by the remarkable individuals within the CTM team, both past and present. Here are just some of CTM’s more recent accolades.


Australia and New Zealand

  • 2021 World Travel Awards – Leading TMC
  • 2022 AFTA Awards – Most Outstanding Travel Management Company
  • 2023 National Travel Industry Awards – Most Outstanding Global Travel Management Company
  • 2023 National Travel Industry Awards – Sustainability Award, Business


  • 2022 and 2023 TTG Travel Awards – Best Corporate Travel Agency, Asia.


  • 2021 Business Travel Awards Europe – Best Corporate Booking Platform
  • 2023 Business Travel Sustainability Awards Europe – Corporate Booking Platform (Lightning)
  • 2024 Business Travel Sustainability Awards Europe – Corporate Booking Platform (Lightning)

North America

  • 2021 World Travel Awards – Leading TMC
  • 2021 SmartBrief Innovation Awards – Innovation Award for Travel Management

A journey of innovation, growth and empowerment

From its humble beginnings to becoming a global leader in travel management, CTM continues to lead positive change in the business travel market.

At the heart of CTM’s journey is a vibrant culture that serves as a foundational pillar for the company. Empowerment is not just a buzzword; it’s a lived reality. Everyone is encouraged to aspire, innovate, and collaborate, fostering a collective spirit to play for success. Trust in individual capabilities and decision-making process is paramount, creating an environment where each team member is recognised and celebrated for their achievements. In this culture of achievement, acknowledgment is extended generously, reinforcing the ethos that excellence deserves acknowledgment.

CTM fosters an environment where leaders not only focus on their team members’ personal growth, but also invest time and effort into creating a cohesive and supportive team culture. Acknowledging the value of teamwork and the collective success of a group motivates staff and creates a workplace that not only welcomes but actively seeks out top talent; a testament to CTM’s commitment to excellence. Providing opportunities for team members to grow and thrive within the organisation has contributed to the overall success of CTM, the longevity of CTM’s employees, and their influence on the travel industry.

Through 30 years of organic growth and strategic acquisitions, CTM has expanded its reach into new global markets, industry niches, and speciality travel sectors, welcoming fresh faces and new perspectives along the way, and creating pathways for new and diverse career opportunities for those who seek to expand their horizons.

“People want to work for a company that is on a journey. And, if you can tell them your story, share it and repeat it, you will find the right people who want to be a part of it; that will help build something special, and that is what we have done at CTM.” Jamie Pherous.

Are you seeking a global leader in business travel management?

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