Customer Spotlight: Entrada

AAGT CEO Greg Parkes recently caught up with Simon Payne, General Manager of Sales at Entrada Travel Group, to learn more about their business and outlook for 2023.  

Q: Tell me about your business. Who are you and what do you do best? 

Simon: Our company began in the late 80’s/early 90’s as Intercity. It morphed into something quite different in the late 90’s and noughties when it moved into the tourism space with coach products, as well as boats in the Bay of Islands.

From there we made a number of tourism acquisitions, and then moved into infrastructure operations like ferries on the North Island of NZ and in Australia. Today Entrada encompasses public bus systems, surrounded by tourism businesses and then some ferry operating contracts on top of that, so it is quite a diverse and interesting portfolio. 

Q: What is your outlook for 2023, and is there anything new we should be keeping an eye on?  

Simon: Our outlook is a slow and steady build. It is not coming back fast, but the great news is that it is coming back. So we need to be patient. 

We’re no different to many other tourism businesses in that we’re grappling with getting the right balance between hiring staff in line with demand, but we’re making progress in this respect. 

We’ve got some exciting things coming. We want to further diversify the portfolio. Our operating contracts with the ferries is something we enjoy doing and are very good at, and so we’ve signed another one – Noosa River – which will commence next year. That is a big project of ours. 

We’ve still got one boat tied up in the marinas in Cairns and a number of tours with Gray Line New Zealand that are yet to come back into service, and that is the slow rebuild I am talking about.  

And behind the scenes there is all this integration work that we had started pre-covid on the back of our acquisitions. These got stalled but are now resuming. So plenty going on at all levels of the organization. 

Q: Why were you so quick to load products into / start using WebsiteTravel again this year?  

Simon: Re-emerging after COVID, our hypothesis was that the youth market would probably be one of the first markets to recover. We proactively approached WebsiteTravel to re-establish the synergy we had and to partner together to drive the recovery of that market.

Q: What is one of your favourite features of WebsiteTravel and why?  

Simon: I have to be perfectly honest that I am not the guy actually in there using WebsiteTravel everyday. I can still answer the question though because I have several team members that know it extremely well and the theme is the same for them and all their customers, and that is that it is so easy to use. It’s as simple as that. And that is what anyone like WebsiteTravel should be wanting to do – make it easy. And that isn’t always the case with technology, but it is what I consistently hear about WebsiteTravel.

Q: Can you comment on the importance of our partnership for your business?  

Simon: WebsiteTravel and Entrada group are two really important elements in the industry’s re-enablement within the youth market, and we’re excited to be working together in this regard.

We’re so excited to be working with Entrada and can’t wait to restore the magic of youth adventure travel together.