Established by owner Narelle Cook in 2008, Next Travels is located in the heart of historic Cessnock, the largest town in the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine-growing region.
Cook says that like many travel retailers, she needed “a fresh start” coming out of a pandemic that hit her high-street business hard.
“Like other businesses, I lost all my staff during COVID, and I am now struggling to attract them back to the travel industry,” says Cook. “In the meantime, I’m working seven days a week.
“I don’t think that situation is going to change soon, which means I need to be generating the maximum output I can with a minimum of resources.
“Joining Travellers Choice was an obvious decision for me because I’d seen the backup the group extended to all of its members before, during and after the pandemic.”
Cook says she was particularly attracted by the group’s unique technology solutions, including exclusive booking platform TC One, which offers members access to a vast range of content and the ability to incorporate a powerful B2C booking engine into agency websites.
“Having a booking engine on my website is another way for me to cut down on face-to-face interactions and ensure I’m working as efficiently as possible.”
Travellers Choice General Manager – Sales Nicola Strudwick says it is encouraging to see the group’s unwavering commitment to its members recognised by experienced and successful businesses operators.
"We are proud of the fact that during the pandemic we provided our members with the support each owner needed, when they needed it the most,” says Strudwick.
“Since then, however, we’ve set another benchmark for member support by introducing flexibility into our membership packages. The result is that independent travel businesses – whether they are home-based, store-front or operating multiple locations – can tailor the level of support they require at any time.
“That is clearly resonating with businesses such as Next Travels, who are looking for ways to efficiently manage post-pandemic growth with reduced resources.”
Travellers Choice’s member support was recognised on the national stage this month when it was named Australia’s Most Outstanding Non-Branded Travel Agency Group at the 2022 National Travel Industry Awards in Sydney.