Today is the second birthday of Evolution Travel Collective (ETC) and, while wishing them our congratulations, we decided to have a chat with the industry legends that make up this fun and dynamic team.
Today – 16 October – marks ETC’s 2nd birthday, and although 2020 certainly has not been the year they imagined back in January, the people behind the company are staying optimistic and constantly changing the way they look at things.
Being a small business has been beneficial in allowing the company to restructure without huge overheads and staff redundancy concerns. ETC has made the change to become increasingly modular in its service offering to cater to the locally based supplier market more readily should they require their services as part of their return to business strategy.
Although now isn’t a great time to ‘celebrate’ as such, this is still a wonderful achievement that deserves to be recognised, so we had a chat with ETC to reflect on the past two years and to see what is in store for the future of the business.
Congratulations on your 2nd birthday – While the timing is naturally not great given the state of the world, how are you feeling about being in business for 2 years?
Much like our home town of Melbourne’s weather, the feeling right now changes every 15 minutes.
Proud – of the work we have done and the results we have achieved for the partners we have represented over the past 2 years
Heartbroken – in the current situation the industry finds its self in and the loss of so many great businesses and talented people
Excited – by the opportunities that a ‘restructure’ of our business over the past few months is uncovering
Determined – to get through the next 12 months and continue our journey as an innovative and passionate contributor within the APAC Travel Industry.
What have been your proudest achievements in the past two years?
Our ability to more often than not exceed the expectations of our partners and the goals we set ourselves as a business. Being a representation business has its challenges, especially if the brands you represent are new to the market or have had limited ‘airtime’ in the past. To plan, support, and execute at a consistently high level for our partners over the past two years has been very rewarding.
What has running this business taught you so far?
That every day we are reminded how much more we can learn. This learning can come from the ETC team we work with, the partners we represent, or the clients (agents) we serve. The need to be open and willing to learn, adapt, and listen to those around you is as important as the product you promote in trying to achieve the best possible results.
How has the pandemic forced you to change your business moving forward?
We have restructured our business services after recent conversations with potential ‘new’ partners. The business was originally set up to offer companies outside of Australia/NZ the opportunity for a ‘fully inclusive’ cost-effective representation option whilst still retaining their own reservation teams.
Whilst that is still very much what we can do for those that require it, the pandemic has opened up new opportunities with businesses based here in Australia/NZ to outsource some of their previous overheads/costs.
As such several companies have investigated ETC looking after an element or two of their business as part of their ‘return to business’ strategy. With this in mind, our business has evolved to be more ‘modular’ where companies can pick which services they need and we will tailor a package to suit their requirements.
What’s next for ETC?
Pete is always thinking of crazy ideas. Let’s just say having some extra time on his hands throughout the Pandemic has not quelled his enthusiasm for exploring new opportunities. We have looked beyond representation at anything from owned product to e-commerce. Who knows where things will end up but exploring concepts and ideas is very much in our DNA.
Which of your products/experiences do you expect to boom post-pandemic? What are the key trends you’re seeing?
Our current partner portfolio at ETC all have great opportunities post Pandemic. So as a birthday wish, I would love to give them a shout out!
Exodus Travels – From the small group tours to the self-guided experiences via Headwater (Exodus Self-guided) we see huge opportunity to be in small groups, away from the crowds, and exploring nature as something customers will be very interested in. Exodus and has been operating walking, hiking, and cycling tours for over 45 years and is an absolute ‘specialist’ in this sector, something that will be incredibly important as activity-based travel increases in the coming years.
50 Degrees North/NORD Journeys – our Scandinavian experts were our fastest growing partner pre-pandemic and there is nothing to suggest that won’t continue upon a return to international travel. They have an extraordinary team of experts in their sales team to support agents in suggesting the ‘best’ options for their customers. When we say ‘specialist’ – we mean it as they just recently celebrated their 10 years anniversary.
HI Tours – Our DMC ‘specialist’ in the Sub-continent will be a wonderful opportunity for people looking to put together FIT and tailor-made itineraries with the absolute experts. With 25 years’ experience in developing bespoke itineraries from State Leaders to some of the globe’s largest wholesalers, there isn’t anything they can’t do in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, or the Maldives.
Dragoman – Are busy developing some new ‘single country’ journeys done the Dragoman way. For those wanting an in-depth experience with one of the founding Adventure companies in the world, these guys will be leading the charge. We can’t wait to see what they develop for the market in 2021 and beyond.
What advice or tips can you share about running a business?
Firstly, leadership is about creating environments for other people to shine, not trying to do everything yourself. When you are a leader of/or within a business – it’s not about YOU – it’s about your team. With this in mind, everything you do should be about offering the opportunity and support for your team to develop – personally and professionally. When they are getting the best out of themselves, you will be getting the best out of them.
Secondly, things WILL go wrong and you WILL need to be open to change. If you don’t embrace change, then you, your team, and your business will not survive.
Finally, working in a business with your personal partner brings another set of challenges AND excitement to the fore. Finding a way to balance that is crucial to the success of not only your company but also your personal life.
We are very grateful to have the opportunity to share a dream, build a business together we can be proud of, and have some success over the past two years – and not kill each other……….yet!
To showcase ETC’s new service offering and have a little bit of fun on their 2nd birthday ETC has given its website a refresh and set up a new business Facebook page complete with a new video highlighting some of the great times their team has had over the past two years.
As celebrations this year are few and far between ETC still took the opportunity to have a mini virtual celebration with all of the team complete with surprise cake deliveries across Australia & NZ and look forward to when they can be back out there visiting agents & supporting their agency network partners.
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