Baby boomers and travel bug
INNOVATION, aggressive marketing, staff who know their product, and personalised service ensured John Dougall saw "nothing but growth" in his Casino business in each of the last ten years.
He's a 50-year veteran of the travel industry who took over the diversified Casino Travel Shoppe - which includes a St George Bank agency - in 2002.
"Business is going pretty well, a lot of people are travelling," he said.
But the regular ringing of telephones and buzz of activity at his Barker St agency suggest business is doing very well.
Mr Dougall employs five full-time and two part-time employees to service a growing number of clients drawn to travel by the strong Australian dollar and some demographic shifts.
Debt-free baby boomers have chosen to SKI, spend the kids' inheritance and see the world, Mr Dougall said, and young people have developed the travel bug because it is easy and affordable.
River and ocean cruises have boomed, rail trips are popular and the agency puts together its own organised group tours and, seemingly, there's no destination for which one can't be arranged.
"We have done coaches, cruise ships, river cruising and bi-annually we have done the Trans-Siberian Railway," Mr Dougall said.
"We have even put together railway tours to Turkey, explored Scandinavia and a rail trip across the USA."
Mr Dougall estimates he has travelled to 85% of the nations of the world, and is pushed to name a destination he or one of his staff don't have personal experience of.
But as well as product knowledge, Mr Dougall needed innovative thinking to draw clients from across the Northern Rivers, Clarence Valley and beyond and to expand his market.
In one area the business has "opened up the world of travel to everyone", Mr Dougall said, with specialised services including front-door to front-door escorted travel.
His staff are also free of the pressures of sales targets and spend the time to ensure a traveller's special needs are met.
Casino Travel Shoppe is on 6662 6255