We wanted to give travellers a chance to see this corner of the world the way we would want to!
-Andrew, Teepee Tours
Teepee Tours are a Melbourne based tour operator run by two friends, Andrew & Adam, who want to provide THE authentic road trip experience of the Great Ocean Road to travellers from around the world.
So, how did it all start?
It's rather a long story, but Teepee Tours started from, and still is, 2 young Melbourne friends (Andrew and Adam), who understood that The Great Ocean Road only seemed to have those boring, factual, stale tours that no one likes. People we would host on 'Couchsurfing' or international friends we had visiting were always disappointed with their experience. It was then that we created a simple Gumtree Ad that explained that we wanted to give travellers a chance to see this corner of the world the way we would want to!
We wanted to make a road trip that did things real Aussie's do... Go for a surf, stop when the moment is right, great tunes, camp with a fire and get the best out of everyone! No boring facts and herding off and on buses!
After delivering a summer's worth of tours on the weekends, we knew we were onto something. That's when we decided to quit our jobs, quit university and pick up the surfboards full time and have an endless summer! Slowly but surely, each weekend we would deliver a 'tour' until this grassroots fueled project has become what it is today! The tour today is the result of a lot of trial and error, but mostly, everyone having an awesome time and telling their friends about it!
The most memorable part...
Hmmm. There has been plenty of fun moments along the way in regards to meeting some amazing people. But for me it was getting the Teepee pitched for the first time. There was a lot of work put into it, but seeing 2 old hippies pitch this magnificent structure on a campsite quite far away from home and then decorating it was not only enjoyable but it was one of those "what the hell am I doing with my life" moments! "Why do I now have a Teepee?!" Best decision we've made!
What do you think about personalised travel?
Travel is 100% more personalised. The thing I have found I hate most about this industry is the fact that people on their holidays can walk into one Travel agent/travel store and get sold into things that might not suit them purely because that Agent/store has a job to sell on particular tours....ignoring all the awesome options out there. Most people only get one shot at touring Australia, and you want to make sure you do it your way! The best way possible! I think people are becoming more aware, more resilient and more open minded with options!
My advice to anyone starting their own business is just do it. Being naive was and is my biggest asset. If I had known of all the politics around travel agents and who can and cannot book us, I probably would've been scared off and made excuses and never had done it. Although I probably should have been a bit more aware of certain costs involved, I think you need to go in with an attitude of "Run fast and break stuff". Learn as you go! Keep on delivering a great product and remember - Patience is key. It's always a slow build up. There's never 'the moment' things changed... Everything adds up gradually.
I think my answer to the last question summed up my company perfectly.
"Run fast and break stuff."
Being new in the market has an excitement that people are connected with. The travel agents, websites likes Leezair and all our awesome customers are part of the David vs Goliath success story and it's only happening because we believe that our Road Trip is honestly the best way to experience this part of Australia. We want to treat our customers like friends, not just a name on a sheet. By the end of the trip we are genuine mates. It's that attitude that keeps fueling us running through things and breaking barriers and it's what people keep talking about!