Goldman Group marks 10 year anniversary of acquiring Travelcall

A decade of growth in the luxury leisure space. And what's next?

In June, Goldman Group celebrated it 10-year milestone of having acquired Melbourne-based retail agency, Travelcall. That acquisition in 2013 laid the foundation for the previously corporate-focused Goldmans to become one of Australia’s most successful travel agency groups.

Here, LATTE chats with Anthony Goldman, Joint Managing Director, Goldman Group; Chair, Global Virtuoso Advisory Board and Director, Link Travel Group about the strategy and wider businesses’ success by tapping into the luxury leisure market.

Anthony, why was Travelcall so tempting to acquire in 2013?

“We were looking for a business to acquire in Melbourne to increase our national footprint and give me a business to sink my teeth into, as I live in Melbourne. I re-joined Goldman Travel Group in 2012 after 20 years forging a career in advertising and marketing.”

“We were looking for a travel agency with a strong luxury leisure business. We met Cher Roscoe and Bill Munt in 2013 and we immediately saw this business as an exciting venture. Cher and Bill had built a strong business with a great reputation with suppliers and clients. It was, and still is a leading Virtuoso member, steeped in values of bespoke service and strong relationships.

“Originally on St Kilda Road in Melbourne, we moved to bustling trendy Armadale. We will be moving to new offices in Malvern in October this year, as our “pandemic office” is now too small.”

Anthony Goldman

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What does it mean to a luxury travel agency?

“I think the word “luxury” is overused by our industry. It’s been commoditised which annoys me a little. Luxury means different things to different people. To some, it’s chandeliers in a hotel lobby. To others, it can mean a wonderful outdoor experience with great company and food.”

“Anyone can call their business a ‘luxury travel agency’ – but it comes down to what you sell, how you sell it and how you service the client. The proof is in your product mix and the manner your advisory team members work with clients to curate experiences. You need polish and finesse – and also an eye for what is a good fit for the client.”

“We are fortunate to work with wonderful supplier partners who work with us to deliver wonderful experiences for our clients.”

Goldman Group attendees at ILTM Asia Pacific 2023, Goldman Group attendees at ILTM Asia Pacific, including member from Travelcall, The Cruise Centre and SmartFlyer Australia.

How have you expanded the Travelcall brand in the last 10 years?

“We acquired Travel Phase in Sydney and merged that with our Goldman Travelcall leisure team to form Travelcall Sydney. We also acquired The Cruise Centre in Brisbane, which is part of our Travelcall brand now. We now have 45 advisors who work under the Travelcall brand. We also have wonderful teams in our other Goldman businesses – Goldman Travel in Sydney and our SmartFlyer Australia network.”

“We won Virtuoso top producing agency in Asia-Pacific for 5 years in a row from 2015-2019 before the pandemic hit. I am now comfortable striving to be the best in what we do, not always being the largest producer. As long as I know that our team is doing the best work they can possibly deliver, that will continue to make me happy.”

Anthony Goldman with Matthew Upchurch, CEO/Chair, Virtuoso

What have you learned since 2013?

“Aside from taking nothing for granted, I think your team is your greatest asset. They are everything at the end of the day. And we do have a group of wonderful advisors and support staff.”

“I also think maintaining strong relationships with your suppliers is critical and being involved in the industry is key to success. Our father, Tom, taught us that from an early age. That is why David are I are involved in various advisory groups. We like to contribute and help shape our industry. I am proud to be the first non-US member to chair the Virtuoso global member advisory board. We are also proud to be founding partners of Link Travel Group which is shaking it up here in Australia.

“I am proud that last year we celebrated our father Tom’s 60th anniversary in travel, and that this year we celebrate 40 years since Goldman Travel was established. Dave and I will continue to consolidate and build our businesses with the support of our teams, and of course our boss, Tom.”

Virtuoso's 2022 Global Advisory Panel, with Goldman as Chair

So what’s next for Goldman Travel?

“Well, we are always looking for the next opportunity. Maybe an off-shore agency partnership, maybe another branch in Australia. I just love what we do, and any opportunities that arise that allows us to heighten our brand and spread our travel expertise is worth looking at.”

Lead image: Goldman Group founder, Tom Goldman OAM, flanked by sons and Joint Managing Directors, David Goldman (left) and Anthony Goldman.

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