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Brighton Travelworld makes history as Australia's longest-standing bricks-and-mortar agency

Melbourne's Brighton Travelworld has turned 55; making history as the longest-standing agency in Australia to have remained in the same location.

Melbourne’s Brighton Travelworld has turned 55; making history as the longest-standing agency in Australia to have remained in the same location.

At an event to celebrate the milestone, attended by Karryon, Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Ingrid Fraser says it is, “no mean feat, particularly considering the airline collapses, natural disaster outbreaks and development of the internet”.

“The confidence and peace of mind they’ve given to their travellers who in turn have influenced countless others to value using a professional to look after them is something that can’t be measured.

“It’s businesses like this that have built the industry and why each of us here that work in the travel industry should be grateful.”

Co-owner and Managing Director, Julie Avery, says she believes its success is down to catering to every type of traveller.

“We are happy booking anything from a Carnival to a Silversea and Regent Cruise, also a wonderful little atmospheric hotel in Europe, to a $5,000 a night six-star hotel.”

“We run a tight frugal business and I am proud to say we have never lost a cent of our clients’ money by selling product that is not on our shelves. If you don’t offer the product, we don’t sell it.”

Dean Cleaver and Tracey Bethune from Emirates with Prisca Bondi of Belmond at the birthday celebrations for Brighton Travelworld
Dean Cleaver and Tracey Bethune from Emirates with Prisca Bondi of Belmond at the birthday celebrations for Brighton Travelworld in Melbourne.

Changing times in travel

Avery’s career with the agency started 45 years ago when she took on a role as PA/Bookkeeper to the original owner, Peter Korbel, and worked her way up to manager, before purchasing the agency in 1999 with Keiran Cromie.

She says things have come a long way, particularly in technology.

“We used to have to ring the airline to make bookings. Everything was a phone call, we had paper tickets and we were handwriting tickets.”

She says there were also a lot of domestic travel requests.

“We were doing a lot of holiday packages to Queensland, and long cruises were popular, but mostly for people relocating to the UK and Europe.”

And, she says agents travelled a lot more back then too.

‘There were more opportunities for educational trips. The airlines have tightened up now.”

Julia Avery in her early days at Brighton Travelworld
Julie Avery in her early days at Brighton Travelworld

Co-owner and Director, Keiran Cromie says one of the biggest changes he’s noticed in his 25 years in the business is that clients are a lot more savvy now.

“They have a good idea about pricing, so you have to be competitive and more knowledgeable and know more than they do and add reason to book with us.”

And what do they make of the introduction of AI? Keiran says not much.

“Travel agents provide coordination and can fix the unfixable, and we give people confidence, so we’ll always be needed.”

For more information, visit Brighton Travelworld.