Wholesalers

Si Travel throws launch party, reveals travel start-up program

Hannah Edensor

Refreshed travel company, Si, was celebrated at a launch party last night in their new offices in The Old Exchange Hotel, Balmain, and announced more than just a brand refresh.

The company, run by Managing Director, Tui Eruera, is the owner of Australia’s largest independent wholesaler travel company, Si Holidays, which recently launched its new website siholidays.com.au and introduced its booking system, Pronto, both created to streamline and improve the overall booking experience for its customers.

Mastercard Travel Solutions Australia, previously named Pinpoint Travel Group, was sold to Si Travel Group in December last year, including its wholesaler brands of Freestyle Holidays, Rosie Holidays, and The Collection.

In case you need a memory jog:

  • Freestyle Holidays provides product to all major destinations worldwide from the pristine beaches of the Maldives and the length and breadth of the USA, to the jungles of Thailand and the wild frontiers of Canada. Freestyle Holidays has the world well and truly covered.
  • Rosie Holidays the unrivalled Fiji specialist operating in conjunction with Rosie Holidays Fiji to provide a seamless customer experience from booking to arriving and with a 24 hour customer care hotline.
  • The Collection focuses on unique experiential travel and encompasses the greatest, most iconic and exclusive products with an emphasis on experience and wellness.

Si Managing Director, Tui Eruera, said the company was six months in the making, with the brand being the perfect “synergy between travel and hospitality”. They’re even opening their own wine bar brand, which will live in the downstairs part of the office space.

Another major innovation of the new brand includes its exciting start-up arm, Slipstream, which has the mission of creating and operating an independent start up program related to travel.

Head of tech and innovation, Simon Farrell, explained to the crowd that “the key pillar of success is technology”, and that rather than sit on the sidelines, Si wanted to “embrace [technology] and make it part of who we are”.

“We know there are different stages of every start up, so we build customised start-ups and tailor our program to them so we can nurture the next big thing in travel.”

Slipstream incorporates three focus areas: Accelerate, Space, and Connect.

Accelerate is for businesses who are still in the “back of the napkin idea” stage of business, where they have a product – or maybe just a great idea – and need help to start making money.

This program helps start-ups with industry partners and networking, and providing the best mentors available to help hand-hold businesses through the early stages of building a brand.

“When a partner comes on board, the one thing they have to do is give us access to at least one mentor. That way start-ups have access to the greatest minds in the industry,” Farrell explained.

As for Space, it’s all about offering a co-working space to come into and collaborate and work on your travel start-up idea in the Si offices in Balmain. And they’re pretty swish spaces if you ask us.

“Start ups coming in benefit from mentors and partners,” Farrell added.

And finally, the ‘Connect’ part of Slipstream can be “as little as a warm introduction to a potential venture capitalist” or “hand-holding through the difficult experience of gaining investment and capital”, said Farrell.

Accelerate is set to launch at the end of the year, with Farrell explaining that Si is still finalising mentors and partners, while Space will kick off around end of August, with start-ups coming in as early as September, and Connect is available now.

“We’re here to lend a helping hand to start-ups,” Farrell concluded.

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