After 30 years of running one of Australia’s leading travel businesses, Jamison Travel owner Michelle Everson claims her greatest achievement is having weathered the many calamitous storms that have rocked the travel industry over the past three decades. But the award-winning Travellers Choice member has done more than simply survive.
Everson was just six years into her travel career when she acquired Jamison Travel in 1993. But during that time, she’d gained experience at agencies in Canberra and Norfolk Island, served as a GSA for Air New Zealand, had a short stint with Qantas and spent a year working for P&O Ferries on the cross-channel journey between England and France.
At the time, the Canberra agency was struggling, but thanks to some hard work and a relentless focus on customer service, Everson turned the business around. Within a few years it was winning accolades, eventually becoming a perennial winner of a Travellers Choice Gold Choice Award.
In 2019, in recognition of the agency’s outstanding business success, Jamison Travel was also named as the inaugural recipient of the Travellers Choice Leading Agency Award.
Nevertheless, asked to reflect on the highlights of the past 30 years, Everson says it is the “pain points” that remain most vivid.
“I’m just incredibly proud that despite all the challenges we’ve faced – from the Ansett collapse to 9/11 and, worst of all, COVID – we survived and thrived,” she says.
“And those are the things our clients remember as well. I still have people coming into the office to remind me how we were the only one who could get them home when volcanic ash closed Europe’s skies in 2010, or to thank us for getting their money back when Ansett collapsed.”
More than 90 of those loyal clients gathered at Canberra’s Labor Club this month to help Jamison Travel celebrate its milestone.
“It was wonderful to hear people talk about all the good times and great trips they’ve enjoyed. And many of the people have been with us since the beginning. There was even one woman who came with her 34-year-old adopted daughter, who I helped bring over from Korea as a child.”
As for what’s next for Jamison Travel, Everson says the agency is currently enjoying outstanding growth.
“We’ve written more business this year than in 2019, so it’s onwards and upwards, with our focus, as always, on continually looking for new ways to enhance our service levels.
Travellers Choice Managing Director Christian Hunter says there is no doubt Jamison Travel is set for many more years of success.
“Michelle has long been recognised as one of Australia’s smartest travel agents and Jamison Travel continues to raise the bar in terms of business performance,” says Hunter. “Travellers Choice is honoured to have had Michelle as part of our family for almost 25 years.”