Travel Agents

“Travel agents play an enormous role in our success”: Intrepid’s James Thornton

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

In case you missed it, Intrepid Group had had a pretty banger 2018.

The adventure travel company reported a whopping 17 per cent growth in revenue, bringing its top line up to $397M, a milestone which marks the groups third year of consecutive growth.

And to top it off, almost a quarter of its 2018 profits will be paid out to staff in bonuses.

It also achieved B Corp certification and raised $1 million for local and international charities through its not-for-profit, the Intrepid Foundation.

We’d be pretty chuffed with ourselves if we were them.

Never content with idle speculating, we decided to sit down with Intrepid Group’s CEO, James Thornton to find out how they did it.

“The evolution of consumer trends has definitely helped,” Thornton told us. 

“The other key driver is the focus on being a business that does two things: firstly, to grow the market for sustainable, experiential travel, and secondly was to operate a business that has a purpose beyond profit.

“I think those two things resonate strongly with travel agents and consumers.”

Intrepid received B Corp certification in 2018
Intrepid received B Corp certification in 2018

The three years of growth coincide with the business being bought back into private ownership in 2015, prompting Thornton and the gang to create a new strategic plan.

“We called it our 2020 plan, which would steer us all the way to 2019,” he said.

And it was all about focusing on what we called sustainable, experiential travel.

“We came up with 6 key strategic points as to how we’d become a market leader and we’ve done pretty well, I’d say.”

But the real key to Intrepid Group’s success is simple: the group’s agent partners.

Still to this day over 75 per cent of our sales in Australia come through our travel agent partners,” Thornton told us.

“In fact, in 2018 we grew our business with travel agents faster than we grew our direct sales business in Australia.

“Travel agents play an enormous role in our success.

“We have some fantastic and really strong relationships with lots of great partners, from owners and founders and CEOs to front line sales consultants.

“They’ve been absolutely critical in the success of Intrepid Group in 2018 and will continue to be in 2019,” Thornton concluded. 

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