TravelManagers’ Belle Adventures a Beautiful Collaboration
When TravelManagers’ Adela Backhouse and Emma Ross first came up with the concept of Belle Adventures two years ago, one of the first people they turned to for advice was their Business Partnership Manager (BPM), Karen Dowling. And as their concept for a travel enterprise that specialised in creating tailored holidays exclusively for groups of women has evolved, the pair have welcomed the ongoing support that Karen has provided.
“Karen’s passion has helped a lot in keeping us motivated and focused on our goals,” Ross explains. “She has given us so much feedback and advice over the last two years, both individually and together. Initially she helped us to develop our concept and bring Belle Adventures to life, and she’s always available when we need her or if we just need to throw some ideas around.”
Emma and Adela, who are TravelManagers’ representatives for Bulimba and Coorparoo in Queensland respectively, note that although COVID-19 has caused them to rethink the way Belle Adventures operates, their trusty local state-based BPM has once again been on hand to help them navigate the murky waters.
“We’ve always been prepared to evolve as our clients evolve, and we realised early on that we would need to refocus our attention on the domestic travel market due to our audience and the stage of life they are at,” Backhouse says. “Karen has been right there beside us, coaching us and prompting us to explore new ideas and to adapt to a new world.”
To express their gratitude for her invaluable support and to acknowledge their achievements thus far, the pair recently invited Karen to join them for a celebratory dinner.
“The support we have continually received from Karen and the rest of the National Partnership Office (NPO) team has been amazing,” Emma confirms. “COVID has been tough on everyone, and we really wanted to show our appreciation for Karen’s support not just this year but from the outset of Belle Adventures.”
Karen has worked for TravelManagers in her role as BPM for Queensland since March 2010, arriving with a wealth of prior experience thanks to her previous seventeen years in the travel industry.
“It is always interesting to hear about new business ideas from PTMs and help them bring them to fruition,” she says. “It’s so rewarding to watch them grow and to share in their success stories. Every day is different in the day of a BPM, which is what makes my role so interesting and rewarding.”
Karen says although she has been involved with the development of numerous niche businesses during her time as a PTM, Belle Adventures was her first instance of two PTMs joining forces to create one successful business.
“I thought Belle Adventures was a great concept for a niche business and they are two great PTMs who work hard on their business and juggle their families successfully too. They both have different strengths that complement each other, and a great network to support the growth of their business concept.”
“I have learned that great friendship can grow from a great business idea,” she adds. “Emma and Adela met through TravelManagers and formed a business connection when they realised their different talents could mesh to create a niche product. Since then, they have become great friends and spent some lovely times away, growing strong relationships with special clients.”
Emma and Adela make the point that the support they have received from Karen since the inception of Belle Adventures is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the overall backing they have had from the NPO team.
“We are so grateful to NPO for all of the support we receive,” Adela reveals. “Marketing have guided us through setting up web pages and flyers, while Tanyu in Accounts has given us so much feedback and advice, including a full risk assessment of our niche concept and keeping our clients safe.”
“It really has been a team effort,” adds Emma. “By having our niche brand with TravelManagers, we have access to so many experienced people – real people who really care about our success – and an environment in which we can exploit our skills, experience and passion with assistance and guidance from the NPO support team.”