In a year when most travel companies have closed their doors, NGV has stayed in business.
“We are one of the few businesses that still has its employees, its customers and its business models in place,” says Janet Travel Agency founder Janette Prewitt.
“It is one of those companies that really gets to the heart of what is driving the business.”
Prewett founded NGV in 2011 after becoming frustrated with the lack of travel options for the US.
“We didn’t have a way to buy tickets,” she says.
“So we had to find ways to buy travel.”
That was really difficult and it was a hard journey for us.
We were trying to figure out how to make our travel experience more authentic.
“That meant getting to know our customers and trying to make sure we could create an experience that was authentic.””
Our aim was to get people to be more authentic,” she explains.
“That meant getting to know our customers and trying to make sure we could create an experience that was authentic.”
We were looking at what was authentic in the US and what wasn’t.
What we found is that it’s really hard to go to the US, and we’re not that far away from that.”
Janet and her team created an app, NGM, which they marketed to people who didn’t want to pay for tickets and wanted to go on a holiday.”
But after three years, Janet’s business failed. “
If you don’t have access to an airport, you have the option to go overland or by car.”
But after three years, Janet’s business failed.
“The reality was we weren’t getting anywhere,” she admits.
“There was no sign that people were willing to buy a plane ticket.”
Janet was sold.
NGM took a huge hit.
“It was like a hammer,” she laughs.
“But it was not something that I felt we could get away with.”
Janette is not the only employee who feels this way.
The Apple travel agent has been around for more than a decade.
Since 2007, Apple has been one of NGV’s largest customers.
Apple has been able to offer a range of travel packages, including one-way and return flights, which include the cost of the tickets.
But Apple did not make the same choice when it came to paying for the trip.
“It made a lot of people very unhappy,” Janette says.
It was one of many issues that Janette and her staff were struggling to overcome, and eventually it meant NGV had to shut down.
Since then, NGA has had to work through its own problems and rebuild.
In 2017, the company announced a deal with a new company to sell the company’s travel products.
But the new company, Traveler, has been unable to meet expectations.
In the meantime, Janette has set up her own company, the Traveler Travel Agency, to offer travellers a range that includes one-week tours of the US to Australia and South America.
Janette says the new agency has been successful.
“People really enjoy the way we make the journey,” she adds.
“They have been very pleased.”
But the travel agency still needs to grow.
Prewitt has not been able go back to the States since she took over the agency.
“I’ve been to the United States once, but that was before Apple took over,” she remembers.
She’s now in Australia, travelling with her family, looking after her daughter and getting her feet wet in a new job.
“The business is starting to grow,” she insists.
While there are a few new customers every week, it is difficult to say if the business is going to be able to survive another year.
One of the challenges is getting people to understand that there are different kinds of travel, and that their choices are valid.
“For people who want to travel in a certain way, they have to have a certain understanding of what that means,” Prewert explains.
“There’s a lot more going on in the economy than just the financial sector.”
People have to be educated about it and understand what they’re getting into.
“Pewitt is now looking to grow the business further, working on new deals with major US cities.
But it will be a challenge to continue the success that Janet and NGV have achieved.
Despite the challenges, Janett believes her customers are coming back to NGV.
And the loyalty of her customers, as well as her experience, has kept her going.
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