South Australia’s premier travel agency Phil Hoffmann Travel is setting a course to pass $200 million annual turnover, open new overseas travel markets for holiday makers and create up to 60 local jobs along the way.
The local family owned agency, which turns 25 years old this month (September), has outlined its bold growth plans which include expanding its business travel division and carving out greater market share in the global cruising market.
Phil Hoffmann Travel posted $130 million in turnover in 2014-15 and has now set a target of hitting $210 million in the next five years.
Chief Executive Officer Peter Williams said the travel company was entering one of the most exciting chapters in its 25-year history.
“Our business has evolved in line with the market, changing technology and the specific travel desires of our clients,” Mr Williams said.
“While the company has grown and branched out into a greater range of services, we’ve remained focussed on ensuring our clients have a great travel experience.
“The reason we have survived and thrived in such a competitive industry over 25 years is as simple as that. Treat your clients as you’d like to be treated and you’ll have clients for life.”
Many of those clients keep coming back to Phil Hoffmann Travel with repeat clients making up a significant proportion of business, particularly in the cruising segment.
“Cruising is the fastest growing travel segment,” Mr Williams said.
“We were the first business in Australia to open a dedicated cruise branch back in 1996 and have cemented our position in this sector as Australia’s number one agency for both Ocean and River Cruising.
“Nationally more than one million Australians went on a cruise last year, up 20 per cent on the previous year. While the cruise market is a big part of our business we’ve also branched out into other travel related offerings.”
This has included a range of popular lifestyle courses the company offers such as photography, language, social media and cultural cooking classes to help travellers gain even greater benefit from their holiday.
Business travel is another expanding division for Phil Hoffmann Travel.
“Our business travel division which opened in 1991 has gone from strength to strength,” Mr Williams said.
“We’ve just taken on board Thomas Foods International as a client – a great South Australian business with a growing global presence.”
Last year Phil Hoffmann Travel purchased two of South Australia’s most successful regional travel agencies in the State’s north, providing the group with an expanded regional footprint while broadening the exclusive deals and opportunities available to local travellers. It now has branches at Norwood, Stirling, Victor Harbor, Adelaide City, Hyde Park, Semaphore, Glenelg and Modbury, Gawler and the Barossa Valley.
Founder and Managing Director, Mr Phil Hoffmann, said when he started the business with just two staff he was soon faced with the deregulation of domestic airfares, the first Gulf War and Keating’s 1990s “recession we had to have”.
“It definitely was a baptism of fire,” Mr Hoffmann recalls.
“Over the years we’ve successfully dealt with a range of external challenges but we’ve emerged even stronger as a business because of our ability to diversify our offering and embrace evolving market and consumer trends.
“The fact Phil Hoffmann Travel has been named Australia’s Best Retail Travel Agency ten times shows we’re doing things right.”
Mr Williams said the company’s growth outlook augurs well for local job creation.
“One of our challenges is finding the right people to join our growing team,” he said.
“Over the next five years we’ll look to take on an extra 50 to 60 staff in South Australia as we continue to grow our market share.”