Pallets with Purpose: A Get Lost Travel Group Innovation

May 4th, 2020 | | industry

The Get Lost Travel Group have traded buses and passengers, for pallets and power tools, launching an inspirational diversification during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Under normal circumstances, GLT employs 70 staff nationally and carry over 100,000 passengers each year on our tours throughout Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. But like most tourism businesses around the world, our company was devastated by the COVID-19 crisis when tour operations came to a standstill in early April. 

CEO Paul Beames was heartbroken after standing down the entire workforce. “I went to the depot determined to change the destiny for our crew. On the way, I tripped over a bunch of wooden pallets on the nature strip from the neighbour’s factory. I sparked a conversation and discovered they were destined for landfill. I commented that was such a waste as they were in perfect condition and the neighbour happily offered them to me and said he could offer a steady supply.” 

Paul continues, “with plenty of space in the depot and a shed full of tools, I started knocking together some prototypes. It blew me away how funky some of the designs from the wood grain polished up. I looked around and thought, we have all this vacant space, massive workbenches, lots of tools and a lot of talented people. I knew if I could convert the space into a furniture factory, I could re-employee some of the guides who had been stood down. And Pallets with Purpose was born.” 

The JobKeeper payments, some ingenuity and pure determination, has allowed GLT to re-engage 20 Tour Guides so far, who have not only learnt a new skill, but they now have a reason to leave the house each day and support a company they love. 

Paul explains “I was in a position to help our team through this difficult period by providing purpose, employment, connectedness and above all else, positive mental health. Since we have re-engaged some of the team, I’ve had grown men break down in tears. We’ve all been in tears. Having a purpose and reconnecting (while practicing social distancing, of course), has been an incredibly positive emotional experience for all of us”. 

Industry legend Safari Pete has been a tour guide at GLT for four years. He recalls the moment he got the call from Paul about returning to work on Pallets with Purpose. “I thought it was very entrepreneurial to come up with this idea. But it was also a selfless act by Paul whereby he was putting the welfare of the team before himself or the business.” Get Lost Travel Pty Ltd – Autopia Tours – Wildlife Tours Australia – Boutique by Autopia 42 Macaulay Street, Williamstown VIC 3016 Australia +61 3 9393 1300 | +61 3 9393 1333 

Darren Donlen has also been a guide with GLT for nearly six years and is now the acting Foreman at the depot come factory, managing the prototypes and a team of 20. He said, “sitting alone at home by myself was lonely and beginning to feel like Groundhog Day. This business innovation has given me purpose, mental stimulation and socialisation with a bunch of great people”. 

With no tours running there is no income at GLT so the goal is to sell these 100% recycled hardwood products to cover some of the unavoidable outgoings until tours are up and running again. 

The Elevator Pitch 

Next time you’re after a piece of furniture don’t go and buy a cheap piece of crap from a foreign-owned multinational. Instead, buy local and support Australian businesses. Every piece of furniture we make is unique. We have used 100% recycled timber. The tables are as solid and hard as a diamond in a snowstorm, and the unique characteristics and marbling in the wood are stunning. You have a flip-top cavity in the centre of the table which you can out an esky in, remote controls, toys or whatever you please! 

But the most significant selling point is this furniture has been built with love, purpose and meaning. By purchasing one, you are supporting a local business and its passionate people through a difficult time. 

Find out more 

– Visit the Pallets with Purpose page on the GLT website to view products:

Source: Anna Heaton Tourism Consultant

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