HTG new headquarters and flagship store
(HTG), following hot on the heels of a new Cruise Travel Centre & Helloworld Travel store at Green Hills East Maitland in the Hunter Valley and the acquisition of seven Helloworld company owned stores at Bunbury, Canberra, Toorak, Knox, Maroochydore, Eastgardens and Parramatta in September, the group is providing a sneak peek of its new headquarters and flag ship store in this article.
Located at 450 Hunter Street, the new HQ is in the middle of the revitalisation taking place in the Newcastle CBD which includes the installation of a Light Rail System, and the huge citywide developments such as the recent opening of the University of Newcastle’s NeW Space City Campus which saw 3,000 Business & Law students swap the bush for the city centre to study in the new $95 million structure.
Billed as Australia’s largest regional bricks and mortar travel agency, the new headquarters is spread across six levels over an area of more than 1500 sqm and features a luxury retail space on the ground floor modelled on a five-star hotel lobby. Gone is the traditional agency atmosphere, with new features such as a bar for the thirsty traveller, plush lounges to contemplate your next adventure, and private booths to discuss the finer details with a team member about your travel plans in a non-transactional environment.
The upper levels include Business Travel, Groups/Product/Marketing, Administration/Finance/HR/Sales, and a level dedicated to events, and VIP clients. Dubbed “The Explorer Lounge”, this level is modelled on a First-Class Airport Lounge and/or Club Level at a luxury hotel and includes a fully equipped kitchen with a huge family dining table to host events and for the local business community to book and utilise as their own private club /lounge.
The Explorer Lounge has already proved incredibly popular with surrounding businesses such as law firms, accountancy firms etc who were looking for a larger luxury space to host events and showcase their products. HTG CEO, Brett Dann, commented “We’re providing the space to businesses as part of our overall value proposition, if they utilise our travel services, then they now have access to a luxury lounge that includes a full concierge and catering service. As a road test we’ve already hosted 3 events to over 200 people last month which has afforded us to tell our story and connect with many clients who were perhaps not aware of our size, depth of service and expertise."
HTG is not afraid to take risks having been the first travel agency group to open a dedicated cruise specialist agency in a Westfield Shopping Centre. Celebrating 10 years this month, Cruise Travel Centre at Westfield Kotara is now one of the groups most productive travel centres.
Mr Dann said: “While not yet at a tipping point, several agency models have been hinting at what’s next. We’ve spent over 18 months refining our plans and have looked at innovations in travel retailing in the USA in particular and we firmly believe that we are delivering the next innovation in travel agency design that we know will resonate well with all age groups, particularly millennials and city centre residents."
Official opening events are being scheduled for November 2017.