Starting with a wifi dongle and a laptop in the northern rivers region of NSW, on-line travel store Trip-A-Deal is an e-commerce success story with over $100 million in revenue in 2017 and over 100 employees based in Byron Bay, NSW.
Co-founder Norm Black said that the main advantage of on-line business is “that you can operate anywhere”. Building on their national success as one of the largest suppliers of ‘bucket-list’ travel packages for Australian travellers, Trip-A-Deal have expanded their business to New Zealand, which will be closely followed by the United Kingdom in the first half of 2019. Black is optimistic that this expansion may be further extended across the globe to replicate markets such as South Africa where there are ageing populations with disposable income.
This expansion is an example where e-commerce businesses such as Trip-A-Deal stand to benefit from international rules for e-commerce allowing their digital entry into new markets.
The other advantage of operating a digital business is that a business’ location need not be confined to the major metropolitan areas. Co-founders Richard Johnston and Norm Black have established their business in the Byron Bay Industrial Area which has been dubbed the mini-Silicon Valley of Australia where a number of digital start-ups are located.
This allows them to draw on the local population for staff. Ballina High School graduate Maite de Hedervary said her role as Global Partnership manager for Trip‑A‑Deal has allowed her to have the opportunity to have a career in an area where she grew up with a company that has ‘grass-roots values’.