What Is Travelwild Australia?
Travelwild Australia is a network of Australian Tour Operators who provide exceptional tourism products in different Australian regions.
The operators involved provide nature based wilderness experiences and adventure activities. They are typically small owner operated businesses who are passionate about what they do.
Who Is Running the Network
The Network has been set up by Tim Grigg who owns and operates Kimberley Adventure Tours, West Adventure Tours and Heading Bush Adventures.
Tim is currently seeing the benefits of the network with just 3 products and understands how powerful it can be with more members.
Tim has successfully owned and operated travel businesses since 1998 and knows what he is doing.
Why Build a Network?
As small operators, we work really hard to get every single customer, and then we work even harder to give them the best experience possible, and then we wave good buy and never see them again.
In many industries the repeat customer is the lifeblood of the business, if you do a great job then you normally have a loyal customer coming back time and time again, unfortunately for us small tour operators who specialise in one region, every customer has to be a new customer.
Repeat business however does occur for the big operators who run tours in multiple regions.
The other difference between the big and small operators is in the quality of the product, a small local operator is normally able to offer so much more to their clients in local knowledge, know how and personalised service than the corporate tour guides who breeze through from time to time. Most of the time the small operator has a much better product.
So the current state of play is that big operators get repeat business, even though their product is not as good, small operators do not get repeat business, even though their product is better.
Image if you had the quality of the small tour operator, backed by the marketing power of a big tour operator who is able to do professional marketing and keep customers in the network.
That’s what Travelwild Australia is attempting to be.
If your product is good enough to be in the network and ticks all the boxes, chances are a customer who has traveled through the Kimberley or the Outback or some where else with a Travelwild member who has done a fantastic job, and they loved it, will also love your product wherever or whatever it may be.
The key is to market the network properly while still allowing each member to maintain their brand and independence. I’ts not a simple task, however it is achievable.
What Are the Benefits of Being Part of the Network?
The networks offers 2 significant benefits;
- Pooling Resources
- Network Bookings
Most of us tour operators are at the top of our game when it comes to putting together and running a great tour, we love doing it and are very good at it.
Unfortunately there are also many things that each operator needs to do in their business which, lets be honest, are not as much fun, and do not get the attention they need and for which we are not properly resourced for, think marketing, admin, human resources etc.
One of the main issues is that we don’t have the money to employ someone who has the right personality to excel at these types of things, in the same way that we excel at running tours, so we bumble away and normally only do half the job.
Let’s say you can allocate $10,000 a year to marketing, what will this get you? Well it won’t get you a full time marketing professional who can produce and implement a proper marketing plan.
What if we had 15 members in the network and everyone contributed $10,000, we now have $150,000 and the marketing professional who can promote not only the network, but also your product and brand might actually be achievable.
Now not only is your business marketed like the big boys, but you can now stop stressing about the marketing you should be doing and focus on your core business.
You can repeat this example for other areas of your business, in addition many of our businesses are seasonal, not with a proper connection to other operators it will be possible for operators to share resources like vehicles.
Guides can stay in the network, instead of losing them to full time jobs in other industries guides can be kept employed around the country for a full year and get variety in their job
does Instead of blowing $10,000 a year on reactionary marketing activities like spontaneously deciding to run an Adwords campaign when your numbers are low, and then not having enough time to monitor the campaign, or worse still forgetting you even did it!
Pool that money with all the other operators so we can employ a professional marketing person, who will create a proper marketing plan and them implement the marketing plan. Promoting your business to traditional channels and promoting your business to network customers and promoting the network as a whole.
Being a small operator is fantastic, you probably have an exceptional product and put 90% of your energy into running great trips and your customers are full of praise and leave the tour with huge grins on their faces.
However there is a bunch of other (less glamorous) stuff that needs to be done properly as well, things like administration, operations, human resources and marketing.
Normally there is minimal budget or time available to these areas to plan and implement them properly. There is often not enough money available to employ people to do these jobs properly, so you end up doing them yourself between everything else, you do an OK job but nothing like someone who can put all their energy into a single task without being distracted
The network can So instead of allocating $10,000 a year to Marketing, which is not enpugh t employ someone or do any
The Travelwild Network allows you to tap into all the customers who have travelled with all the other members, if they liked travelling with them chances are they will like travelling with you.
Criteria For Membership
Like a chain, the network is only as strong as it’s weakest link. It is vital that every opperator is of the highest quality and offers similar products to similar customer demographics
Travelwild is not open to anyone operator, there are strict criteria which must be met, only tour operators who can demonstrate that they can meet these criteria will be considered.
- History of exceptional customer reviews
- Active & Nature / Wilderness based experiences
- Adventurous & challenging experiences
- Preference for wilderness camping on multi day tours where available
- Small groups tours with a maximum of 13 passengers
- Access to private and or exclusive locations and experiences