3 July 2018: Travellers Choice’s strong digital marketing support and its innovative relationship with online travel agency TripADeal has helped the group attract three new high-calibre recruits in New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia.
The new member shareholders – Top Deck Travel, Chris Watson Travel and Devonport Travel and Cruise – each bring new skills, experience and insights to Australia's leading network for independent travel agents.
Top Deck Travel, located in the east Adelaide suburb of Norwood, is owned by Clare Horton, who acquired the business in July 2016 after 17 years working in the agency.
Horton says it was a desire to receive personalised support for her local marketing activities and more assistance in growing her digital marketing presence that drew her to Travellers Choice.
"Essentially I wanted to be part of a smaller group in which I could enjoy more meaningful relationships, especially at a local level with my state Business Development Manager,” says Horton.
"I also wanted to access new commercial opportunities, like those presented by Travellers Choice's arrangement with TripADeal. People are on the look-out for something different and the TripADeal relationship, which provides access to exclusive products, is unique."
Geoff and Sandy Richardson have operated Devonport Travel and Cruise for the past seven years. The agency is located in the vibrant maritime city of Devonport on Tasmania’s north coast, where the Mersey River feeds into the Bass Strait.
Geoff Richardson describes Travellers Choice’s relationship with TripADeal as “a real bonus, that’s for sure”, but what he finds most appealing about the group is the freedom it offers member shareholders.
"We enjoy all the support and benefits of being part of a national group,” says Richardson, “but at the same time we are free to do our own thing and grow whenever and wherever opportunities arise."
Chris and Gemma Watson launched their business in 2005 (rebranding it as Chris Watson Travel in 2014) in Tamworth, a regional NSW city revered as Australia's 'country music capital’.
As well as being a former Tamworth Young Business Person and Young Citizen of The Year, Chris Watson is an internationally recognised country music line dancer, and dance group tours are a key feature of the agency.
Watson says that when investigating retail group options the Travellers Choice brand and vision immediately resonated.
“We are an independent and family-owned small business and culturally we saw it as a natural fit,” he says.
“At the same time, the relationship with TripADeal has been a great added bonus because it has provided a point-of-difference to our retail shop front and delivered significant growth to our business.”