Duo get new travel consultancy off the ground

2011-09-14 00:00

THE recent closure of the Pietermaritzburg branch of their employer, Rennies Travel, provided two local women with the impetus to create their own business.

With 40 years of collective experience in the travel industry, Theona Bell and Anicete Barnard, the owners of new travel consultancy Travel Finesse, are poised for success in this competitive sector.

They told The Witness that their passion for travel, combined with the necessary knowledge and expertise, will go a long way toward ensuring that the business meets clients’ expectations.

Bell and Barnard said, “The closure of the Rennies branch at Parklane came as a blessing in disguise. We know what clients want. We have an established corporate client base and we also cater for the leisure market.”

They base their offering on providing quality service to their clientele.

Travel Finesse also boasts the backing of E-travel, a South African consortium that assists independent travel consultants with book-keeping and accountancy services, as well as the negotiation of deals on car hire, airfares and hotel accommodation.

This enables independent consultants to secure competitive packages for the market.

“E-travel is our backup support structure, and they offer strong support to us,” they said.

Despite the emergence of do-it-yourself travel and accommodation bookings over the Internet, Bell and Barnard believe there is a market for travel consultants serving the corporate and leisure markets.

“The market still needs us. One must have a sense of peace of mind and the human backup support element provides this. Pietermaritzburg has a touch-base client base — they need to develop relationships with the people they do business with.”

Given the popularity of sport in the local market and the many regular national and international sporting events, this represents another area of opportunity for the pair.

“We also want to establish ourselves in the groups, conferencing and incentives market,” they said.

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