Q&A Adam and Darryl of new youth inbound agent – welcometo.travelAugust 8th, 2017 | | industry
G’day Adam and Darryl,
The Byte: So you’re a couple of northern English lads who came to Australia on a gap year and stayed six more. During that time I suspect you travelled all over Australia (tell me some highlights!) and returned to Melbourne to become travel agents (is that correct?) and now you have set up welcometo.travel a new youth inbound agency.
How am I doing so far?
Adam: You’ve pretty much nailed it to be honest. You’ve summed it up so well I feel redundant answering the questions now! We set off travelling in 2010 to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, then Thailand and then landed in Perth in 7 years ago today, crazy! We pruned vines, caught chickens and picked avocados for our second year working holiday visa and then set off travelling for four months.
We got the Greyhound from Adelaide to Uluru and back (STA did well with the 10,000KM Pass upsell there …) and then did the whole East Coast with a bunch of friends from home, taking in three (victorious may I add) Ashes test matches at Adelaide Oval, the MCG and the SCG as we went!
I then moved back to Melbourne for 4 months and then the UK for 3 months before deciding recession filled England wasn’t where I wanted to be. In that time Darryl was playing the local celebrity card as he played semi pro football (soccer) for Ballarat Red Devils in Country Victoria.
After a stint in Asia to drink from buckets, eat Pad Thai and generally find himself Darryl ended up working for Peterpans Adventure Travel in Kings Cross. Fast-forward three months and I’d joined him and from there what started as a fun job to see out the last 6 months of our visa turned in to a journey to sponsorship, to store management, to permanent residency and to upper management in the company. In regards to journeys, we’ve not been on a more enjoyable, life-changing or educational one and I doubt we ever will!
It’s that experience and journey that has inspired us and challenged us to create something that we think is going to be a pretty cool addition to the backpacking market.
The Byte: Don’t stop while you are in full flow, tell me more –
Adam: We’ve noticed (as has everyone) there’s been a big change in how people travel and how people interact when they travel. Not only has online changed booking processes but it’s also changed the traveller and with people glued to their phones and laptops in hostels it’s arguably harder and harder to meet new people, which in turn makes it harder to see/experience new places and no-one seems to be bloody talking to each other!
Countless times instore we’ve heard of ‘everyone being on wifi’ or ‘that hostel not really having an atmoshphere’ and we want to ensure that’s not people’s first experience here.
At Welcome To Travel: Melbourne we understand a lot of these guys will be first time travellers going out of their comfort zone so we want to make every part of it as easy as possible but also as enjoyable as possible. We want to create a group atmosphere that bonds people together, showcases the most liveable city in the world and also allows these new travellers to feel confident and empowered to explore further after just a week here.
The Byte: You have made Melbourne your base, do you have plans to extend your reach into other cities?
Adam: We are pretty competitive and forward thinking people and are always thinking about the next thing (especially Darryl!) and we do plan to extend elsewhere, that’s as much as you’re getting from us I’m afraid. I can confirm though that rumours of us starting in Dubbo and Kalgoorlie are unfounded.
The Byte: Is this arrival pack for prearrivals or the recently arrived?
Adam: It’s for anyone that wants to join us and see Melbourne and it’s surrounds with likeminded people really. You’re right, traditionally this kind of package is for pre-arrivals but there’s no reason why someone that’s been here a few days can’t jump on tour too.
We have gathered a number of contacts over the years in the industry and ahead of schedule we’ve secured several key relationships in Europe that have proved fruitful in giving us a handful of bookings already. Darryl has been over in London since April and will be busy training agents, attending travel talks and building more relationships over the next few months.
We have a competent and well-versed digital marketing team that we’ve worked on a strategy with and are excited about rolling out.
We are more than aware that this Summer is about getting the brand out there online, social, with agents all over the world and of course by running a few tours!
The Byte: So what distinguishes welcometo.travel from any other inbound youth travel agent?
The main distinction is that at Welcome To Travel we know exactly how it feels to travel to Australia for the first time. We have recently gone through the full entire cycle of a being a backpacker – from working those long hours in the UK saving for a gap year, buying our first backpack and landing on the other side of the world with no idea of what to do and what to see. New travellers need the essentials of airport transfers, accommodation when landing and then those life admin needs of bank account, TFN and employment help, we do all of that.
They also want to meet new people and tick off that Australian bucket list of learning to surf and feeding kangaroos. What we also think they want though is to be surprised and wowed on a daily basis. This isn’t just so they’re taken out of their comfort zone but out of their expectation zone too, that’s been something that has been consistently on our mind when tailor making this itinerary and we think our cool inclusions show that off.
We’re aware of the many perhaps more touristy things that could be included in this week but instead we’ve opted for a blend of must dos and didn’t know I could dos! Then who else better to do it than with people who are relatable, experts in the field of travel and keen to show you why we ditched the UK to make this place our new home?!
Of course we’re new to this and we are always keen to take as many tips and advice from experienced people in the industry. We’re also open to exploring any opportunity to work with any potential partners that share as an ambitious and dynamic approach to the industry as we like to think we do, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interview by Chris Harrison