Snowscene Office This month’s featured business is Snowscene.

Family owned & run by Emily Warbrick; daughter of the owner, Snowscene is a Woolloongabba based travel agency specialising in ski and snowboard holidays.
I sat down with Emily General Manager and Groups Snow specialist Jess Doherty to learn more. Jess has been with the business 5 years – a great sign of their experienced staff and family nature.

How long have you been operating in the Gabba?

We’ve been in the Gabba for 15 years. Before that we were operating in Brisbane City. In 1984 Snowscene as a whole was going into liquidation, and our director, who is also my father, bought the business and took over existing staff. One of them is still with us today; our accounts manager Kerri Karayan. So that’s been the journey – it’s gone from 2-3 people to a team of twelve.

What makes this business special?

I think it’s because we’re specialists. We’re a real niche sort of boutique travel agency with a niche market, so it’s more aimed for snow-lovers & their first time experience and people who love travelling to the snow, whether it be within Australia or overseas.

Just being able to specialise in one field and “nail” everything in that one field. Rather than being okay at a lot of different fields. We have visited over 55 ski resorts world wide. So we’re passionate: we’re skiers, we’re boarders and we know what we’re talking about.

So you’ve been to the places that you book?

Yeah, of course. Our tagline is “The snowboard and ski tour specialists”. That’s how we promote ourselves in the marketplace.

snowscene-staffWhat are the current trends in snow-themed holidays?

Right now Japan’s very big. Australians are all going to Japan. Over the last 3 years, its really taken off. It started to take off probably about 5 years ago. Its in mainstream media, it’s the “it place to go”.

If you’re going to go anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, Japan is the first preference. Our Japan Specialists are Roger and Suzie and available for office appointments, phone calls or via email.

What makes you passionate about this business?

We love what we do. We believe in what we do: Sending people on holidays, creating the experience for clients.
We’re proud to be a family, multi-generational business; following that service through as well. We’re not owned by an offshore company.

Often our clients have never been to the snow, so sending them on that first-ever experience is really cool.
And to hear the feedback from them every time they come back. That always gives you a little bit of a kick as well. I guess we love it.
We’re passionate, which is definitely the way everyone is: very passionate about what they do.

Why might a customer come to you instead of a competitor?

For a specialised service. Coming to the experts. Coming to people that that have actually done it. I don’t want to compare but some of the bigger travel agencies, they have so many products to sell, we’re just selling snow, so it comes back to being the specialists and being passionate, and that’s the way we market our selves.

Plus, the longevity in the business, and being a strong local business in the Gabba. We’ve been here for 15 years, and having that strong presence, the billboard, knowing we’re family owned and run, stuff that are snowboarders, skiers, passionate. It keeps coming back to service and specialised and passionate. I think it helps that we’re all skiers and snowboarders ourselves. Queenslanders tend to support Queenslanders

Queenslanders are more loyal that other states. They like to know that they’re booking with Queensland business. We definitely have that working in our favour.

Do you have any tips for customers coming in to improve their experience?

Do a little bit of research on Google. Know a little bit about what you’d like, or what you’d like to get out of your trip. Do you need lessons? You do need equipment and you do need clothing. We focus on all-inclusive package. Dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s.

We want to exceed clients’ expectations. One: you’ve got to meet them and two: we want to exceed them. That’s something we’re working on more and more, to do that; because of the internet, you have to. Customers can do it themselves, so why should they book with us? Focusing on service and being the best is important to us and focusing on what our customers need.

What’s it like having a business in the Gabba?

It’s good in the sense we don’t the inner-city rent. Then again, we don’t the inner-city walk-ins, but we don’t the have the traffic issues. There are great cafes, culture, so from a staff point of view that’s nice. It has come a long way, but I think there’s a lot of potential in the future for a business. If the uni development goes up that’s going to help local businesses.

Freeway footage from a business signage point of view: I don’t think you can put a value on that. Customer parking – it’s much easier that the inner city. We support local businesses, we’re a member of the GBA and we’re a sponsor of the Chalk Hotel’s Snow Party. This year we gave away a NZ holiday valued at $3000.

Snowscene has now expanded with Gabba Travel & Cruise. This is a more general travel agency situated in the Gabba. They take appointments, making it easy for local business members to come in during lunch hours. More information is on the Snowscene Website. Or phone 33921722 – right next door to the Chalk Hotel.