Due to the transparent nature of the World Travellers model, we publish our annual Chairman's Report and annual General Manager's report, as presented and accepted at the AGM by World Travellers members.
Click here for the 2013 Chairman's Report (Dated June 2013)
Click here for the 2013 General Manager's Report (Dated June 2013)
Click here for the 2012 Chairman's Report (Dated June 2012)
Click here for the 2012 General Manager's Report (Dated June 2012)
2011 Chairman's Report (Dated June 2011)
"They say the best time to start a new venture is when no one else is and when the world is imploding. Listening to that advice is not the only thing World Travellers have got 100% right in their first full year of operation.
While many traditional travel agents sit frozen in the headlights of a relentless GFC and overburdened legacy franchise business models bear down on them, a dedicated group of business men and women have created an outstandingly innovative and refreshing travel cooperative. In our first year we have opened a genuine escape route for outbound travel operators to once again own their shop, own their brand, own their customers and own their future.
Whilst the path to this point has been significantly more challenging than the founders had expected, the special brotherhood that the cooperative has engendered has achieved some outstanding results. A 100% ethical model with transparent constitution and membership agreement protecting owners’ rights has underpinned and continues to underpin everything we do for our members.
In our General Managers report Wendy van Lieshout details the milestones achieved this year and they are a huge testament to the group’s enthusiasm and cohesive ‘all for one, one for all’ approach.
In particular I believe it is the cooperative culture that has become such a unique and strong catalyst for change and improvement. Many organisations have endearing cultures, often a warm cosy environment to wallow in, rather than the dynamic, open, team-driven ethos of World Travellers. The ground-breaking bi-monthly OpenHubs hosted by shops with content created by all members are a breath of fresh air. Owner-operators are back at the helm, with fresh ideas and support constantly bubbling to the surface. This leaves the Management Services crew to concentrate simply on sourcing, creating and delivering the latest and best tools and processes back to the assembled cooperative to fulfil their wishes. Transparent, open sharing has empowered the group in a manner far exceeding the best wishes of the founders.
The constant 24/7 consultant and management cloud-based Hubs have become a massive pool of knowledge; a place to share successes, challenges and stories in a manner never seen before. As a new World Travellers owner mentioned recently “I had no idea when I joined that my store would suddenly have 100 plus expert consultants and business leaders to draw on”. The openness of this approach sees owners benefiting from shared resource, travel opportunities, marketing initiatives and profit and loss and systems analysis.
On top of all this we exceeded our target of 13 shops in year one and continue to grow, averaging a new store every two months. Our income and financial model for the brand and management services is now well on track to provide a sustainable model with real opportunities to invest in further ground-breaking developments. All this in an environment when we turn away twice that number who cannot subscribe to our ideals or lack the true grit of Kiwi owner-operator know-how to not just manage their own business, but contribute to the growth and success of their colleagues in a manner that constantly enhances New Zealand’s only travel cooperative.
Going forward in 2011-12 we look forward to building on our firmly established base, significantly growing our shops’ profitability and asset value and serving our members every minute of every day in new and better ways. We are working on innovative new retail models, a bold new corporate offering for SME’s and an exciting stage two to our interactive consumer web offerings. All these projects are designed to engage and embrace our customers in the trusted, knowledgeable manner they so much desire.
It has been a pleasure to work with such enthusiastic and bold travel innovators who have not been afraid to use that Kiwi spirit and boldly go where no travel company has gone before.
Lastly I would like to thank everyone for their unbridled passion, effort and enthusiasm and in particular our tirelessly dedicated board of directors, our outstanding general manager, our suppliers and strategic partners for believing in our model and, most importantly, the many intelligent and brave owner-operators who have chosen to embrace an exciting and rewarding new travel business environment."
Graeme Moore - Chairman World Travellers
2011 General Manager's Report (Dated June 2011)
"Even before I started in the role of General Manager for World Travellers in April 2010, I had a long “to do” list that I desperately wanted to get cracking on, fed by the passion and desire of a very driven board, and by an equally driven group of founding co-op members.
The membership has continued to grow over the past year, and my focus continues to be 100% on delivering tools and systems, support and training, networking and business opportunities to give co-op members the best possible opportunity to grow their businesses and increase their profitability.
Our first year of operation has been one of building strong, lasting foundations and business processes. The key to this has been ensuring the structure will stand the test of time, will be robust and scalable as our membership grows, will be flexible and adaptable as the environment changes, and very importantly, will offer great value and returns for minimal member investment. For 2010/2011, these have included:
• Constitution & Membership Agreement. Comprehensive, transparent documents that protect co-op members’ rights
like never before.
• Branding. Outstandingly refreshing, reinforcing our edgy experiential enthusiasm for all things travel.
• Supply alliance. A hugely beneficial relationship with Flight Centre, the 4th largest global travel procurement company,
delivering a stunning selection of product, services and unprecedented commissions/overrides with zero overheads.
• Trade supply partners. A commitment to outsourcing to the very best trade supply partners like Fastway Print, MHA
Cloud Computing and Sandfield IT, who relish and understand our model and deliver ground-breaking products to our co-op members.
• Management Services. A proven commitment to the absolute lowest overheads ever known in the industry, whilst still
providing a range of valuable services to the co-op members.
• Intranet solution. Using Google’s free web products, we have delivered a fantastic dynamic internal communication,
networking and information tool, at no cost to the co-op members. The initial site has grown during the year to a set of 5 sites with varying permission levels and topics, providing unheralded real-time support to shops.
• Web solution. After a thorough tender process, World Travellers have a scalable stage 1 web solution that firmly places
control in the members’ hands. Members can do as much or as little as they like but either way they have a cutting-edge, dynamic website with continually updated product. World Travellers has set a new benchmark for shop-driven online content managed and owned at retail level. Much of the web content is also now updated by suppliers directly, creating greater efficiencies and speed-to-market, at no cost; a paradigm shift in content creation welcomed with open arms by suppliers. The website averages approximately 170 deals at any given time, covering every corner of the globe.
• Email newsletter and database solution. A tricky brief to allow full control by the members (if they so desired), led to
the On News product development for World Travellers. Again, members can do as much or as little as they want, and the result is professional and brand consistent. We are already seeing some outstanding creative input from owner operators using this marketing tool.
• GDS tender. A very long and detailed process resulted in the best ever financial return for World Travellers co-op
members in relation to GDS rebates. The Travelport contract is unprecedented in the industry, as all funds and benefits are returned directly to the members and not retained at “head office”.
• OpenHubs. Bi-monthly networking events hosted by stores have formed the back-bone of face-to-face communication
between co-op member stores. Attendance has been exceptionally high (90%+), and content has been open and honest, including never-before discussed topics such as staff remuneration and benefits, individual business plans and store financials. A true triumph of the World Travellers transparent co-op culture.
• Fortnightly managers Skype sessions. Another efficient, free way to keep the co-op network informed and in touch.
These online meetings generally have a high turn-out of around 80% of members, and a high level of enthusiasm.
• Travel Stories. From small beginnings, we are well on the way to having the most content-rich staff-generated content
in the industry on our websites. We have over 110 stories now live on the site. We are currently working on Stage two of another ground breaking World Travellers first, facilitating the integration of interactive customer content and comments into the store websites.
• Facebook/Twitter. World Travellers has a presence both on Facebook and on Twitter, with a number of stores also
running their own Facebook pages. Most posts attract “looks” in excess of 400 on the main World Travellers page.
• Marketing Templates. Definitely a technology triumph, at no cost at all to the co-op. A full range of campaign
templates with variable imagery is available to the stores for all their marketing needs, and each fortnight a campaign is produced for them to promote if they wish. The full ranges of World Travellers stationery, point of sale and display material are also available. Over 200 visual “assets” are available for the stores’ use.
• Training resources. A comprehensive series of 20 short, succinct online tutorials are available to co-op members to
ensure full understanding of all the World Travellers systems and technology, including how to use the Hubs (intranet), how to manage the database, email newsletter, website and marketing templates systems.
• Store transition process. With the help of the new World Travellers stores as they made their transition from their
previous brands, a robust and dynamic store transition process has been developed, which continues to be tested and adjusted as more stores come on board. Due to the high calibre of members, the process is slick and achievable, providing confidence and enthusiasm to new stores.
Above all, all the foundations that have been laid this year are a result of the combined effort and input from the whole World Travellers co-operative. None of the above has been achieved in isolation, but has involved the opinions, time, energy and efforts of all the co-op members and particularly the board of directors.
There are no conflicting objectives, just a group of savvy business owners utilising a co-operative structure to improve their businesses. Finally, energy and investment is being expended only on projects that benefit the co-op members…. what a revelation! Thanks to all the members for the first year of World Travellers; I’ve personally enjoyed every minute, thanks only to everyone’s valuable input and cooperation."
Wendy van Lieshout - General Manager World Travellers