“I now make people happy by giving them what they want in travel in Australia and New Zealand.”
An expert tourism agent, Charmaine Edwards of Great Tour Experiences has long been involved in creating memorable travel experiences. Starting with her family-owned group travel company, Charmaine worked there ten out of the 30 years before its sale. Soon after she started her own similar tourism business.
Now, she arranges all-inclusive travel packages and group tour experiences within the Australia and New Zealand bubble. Charmaine has organized tours for students, youth music groups and adults.
She takes special pride in seeking feedback from her groups on their return and making sure that their interests are at heart. As she says, “Making arrangements for you is my business.”
If she were to have her ideal business, Charmaine would arrange tours for even larger groups up to the 200s and see a lot more repeat business.
Outside of running Great Tour Experiences, Charmaine’s interests include her family (she’s especially proud of her sons and husband), movies, cooking, making photo books and meeting new people.
Why did you start your business and what gave you the idea?
I worked in the family group travel company for 10 of its 30 years. Then at 79 years, my Dad sold the company to the USA, and after 6 months that didn’t want any family member, so I got put off then, I started the same business as it was what I knew, and I had the New Zealand suppliers backing me also.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
Doing what I love, I always want to work in travel; as a young kid, we took my Dad to the Auckland airport to go overseas for work, and I wanted to be one of the girls in those uniforms. I now make people happy by giving them what they want in travel in Australia and New Zealand.
What three pieces of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started?
- Watch out if there is no travel. My parents went through the pilot 6-month strike.
- Get help when needed, maybe a VA.
- You can claim your USA travel to conferences with Exportise.
What advice would YOU give someone thinking about starting a business?
Have your website all done and ready to go. Make you have enough money to pay your bills. Always back up your work.
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
I would say Marketing, how to use Facebook and LinkedIn also how to do your Newsletters.
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you’re not there yet, what would it look like if your business was ideal?
I would like more larger group and a lot of repeat business. As you make more money in a group of 200 than 20.
What problem does being a Member of the HerBusiness Network solve for you and your business? And, how?
You could get any business you need to help you. I have used Zoe Heard for my copywriting. You can ask questions on Facebook and help others out there also.