This Aussie Start-Up Creates Events in the World’s Coolest Places

St Peter's basilica bridge, Rome, Italy

Make a list of dream jobs and anything that involves travelling to stunning holiday destinations across the globe will likely nudge its way towards the top of the list. Add in “extraordinary, life-changing experiences”, like sailing through the Caribbean on a private yacht, setting up a secluded camp in the middle of the Moroccan desert or enjoying private tastings at the top Champagne houses in Reims and you’re definitely onto a winner.

But for Ashlee Siqueira and Katie Hope-Robertson these experiences are all in a day’s work. As co-founders and event directors of The Travel Edit, they specialise in organising memorable one-off events for conferences and incentives.

Ashlee Siqueira and Katie Hope Robertson

More than simply booking plane tickets to exotic locations, their business curates immersive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Drawing inspiration from their own love of travel, the pair scout locations around the world, meet suppliers and hone a concept with clients – that include well-known corporates, food and beverage brands and cosmetics companies – and then use their extensive web of contacts to turn those ideas into reality.

And from the start, they’ve had one important rule. “Creativity is at the core of what we do so copy and paste is not in our vocabulary,” explains Hope-Robertson. “A lot of agencies might run the same trip multiple times but with us you'll always get a unique experience because every event is individually tailored to the client and every little detail considered – from bespoke gift packs to personalised experiences for each guest.”

An event at Mount Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills, SA
An event at Mount Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills

The pair’s current success is due to a big gamble they took in early 2020, when travel restrictions brought their industry to a complete standstill. Siqueira and Hope-Robertson had both been working in events for more than a decade at that point and decided to put the unexpected downtime to good use by constructing a business plan and striking out on their own.

“We knew that we had the skills to be successful,” says Siqueira. “We just had to get in front of the right people and pitch for these events.”

Fortunately their creativity and attention to detail meant they piqued the interest of several clients almost immediately. Despite navigating travel restrictions and lockdowns, by the end of 2020 they’d won their first major client and immediately signed up for the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card.

Qantas American Express Ultimate Card

Organising lavish events for some of the most successful companies in the country requires capital, and with no pre-set spending limit, the Card lets businesses access up to $1.5 million in a line of unsecured funding across a 12-month period¹. “It was extremely useful in the beginning,” recalls Siqueira. “For a big event we might have to book 100 flights at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars so having no pre-set spending limit offered us a sense of security as we were building the business.”

Aboard YOT Blue, a luxury yacht The Travel Edit chartered for clients on the Gold Coast, QLD
Aboard YOT Blue, a luxury yacht The Travel Edit chartered for clients on the Gold Coast

Even better, they earned up to 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday business spend² – points they could put towards travel.

“We’re on the Qantas website several times a week doing something for the business,” says Siqueira, who earns 2 Qantas Points on every dollar they spend on eligible Qantas Flights², plus the points their business earns when flying are tripled³ when they pay using the Card. They also earn Qantas Points when booking stays at Qantas Hotels, hire cars and through other Qantas Business Rewards partners (the pair chose BizCover when arranging their business insurance). “Those points then directly help the business when we use them to book flights so we can scout locations, meet operators and unlock the very best experiences for our clients.”

Building on their initial success, The Travel Edit has since worked on more than a dozen events with other multinational firms. And with borders opening up they’ve seen a huge increase in demand for international events. “It’s been wonderful to explore our beautiful backyard for the last couple of years,” says Hope-Robertson. “But now we’re definitely ready to get our delegates back in the skies and heading overseas.”

Unlock the possibilities for your business using 150,000 bonus Qantas Points + $450 Qantas Flight Voucher* with the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card. Minimum spend $3,000 in the first 2 months of your approval date. New American Express Card Members only. Offer ends 10 August 2022. T&Cs apply. Learn More.

Ashlee Siqueira and Katie Hope-Robertson

Unlock the possibilities

Ashlee Siqueira and Katie Hope-Robertson share their top small business tips.

• The key to… operating in a worldwide market

"Because we organise events all over the world, we have to make a lot of large international payments. Using our Card, we enrolled with American Express AccessLine™ so we can pay suppliers virtually anywhere in the world immediately and the American Express FX International Payments portal⁴ means we can pay in different currencies."

• The key to… staff motivation

“The clients we work with come to us because they know that well-run internal promotions and incentives have the power to inspire and motivate their workforce. They see an immediate return on their investment thanks to the increased productivity and engagement, while we see first-hand how much the people on those trips appreciate the experience and the loyalty that comes from that.”

• The key to… reducing expenses

“Do your research and make sure you're getting the best return for your money based on the specific needs of your business. We enrolled with American Express AccessLine™ so we can use our Card to pay suppliers who don’t accept American Express⁴. We use it for everything from taking clients out to lunch and paying our taxes to booking hotels, helicopters and seaplanes. In two years, we’ve earned 400,000 Qantas Points, which has provided a huge cost saving on business-related travel.”

Ashlee Siqueira and Katie Hope-Robertson

Amex Qantas Business Rewards

• The key to… getting started

“The most important thing you can do is believe in yourself and take the leap because nobody else will start your business for you. It also helps to identify your strengths; clients have bought into us because we have decades of experience without the overheads that some of our competitors do, which means we can offer lower management fees.”

• The key to… getting the most out of business travel

“We have limited time on the ground when we travel for work and every second is valuable, so we use Qantas Points to upgrade our flights to Business. At the end of November 2021 we went to one of the world's biggest event trade shows in Barcelona to network with suppliers and having that extra comfort for such a long-haul flight allowed us to literally hit the ground running and get things done. And because we’ve built up Platinum Status over the years we're rewarded for being loyal to Qantas with priority check-in, priority boarding and access to the First lounge.”

• The key to… operating with confidence

“We started the business just as the pandemic hit, so there’s been a bit of hesitancy around booking travel at times. Fortunately, every Qantas trip booked on our American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card comes with complimentary travel insurance⁵. We also had a great Account Manager who was always available to offer advice – something that was invaluable to a new business operating in such uncertain times.”

Unlock the possibilities for your business using 150,000 bonus Qantas Points + $450 Qantas Flight Voucher* with the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card. Minimum spend $3,000 in the first 2 months of your approval date. New American Express Card Members only. Offer ends 10 August 2022. T&Cs apply. Learn more.

Click here for Terms and Conditions.  

SEE ALSO: These Boutique Hotels Are Changing the Way You Stay in Regional Australia

* Offer only available to new American Express Card Members who apply by 10 August 2022, are approved and spend $3,000 on their new Card in the first 2 months from the Card approval date. Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer. Please allow 8 to 12 weeks after you have met the spend criteria for the 150,000 bonus Qantas Points to be awarded to your Qantas Business Rewards account. A $450 Qantas Flight Voucher will be issued as a Qantas Gift Voucher. The Voucher will be sent to the email address associated with your Qantas Frequent Flyer profile 4 to 8 weeks after the bonus Qantas Points have been awarded provided you are a Qantas Frequent Flyer member and have provided your Qantas Frequent Flyer number at the time of application with American Express. Should your Qantas Frequent Flyer number not be provided at the time of application with American Express, you will be considered not eligible for a Qantas Gift Voucher. If a member does not have a valid email address in their Qantas Frequent Flyer profile at the time of application, Qantas is not obliged to resend the Qantas Gift Voucher. Qantas Gift Voucher is valid for 12 months from date of issue and can be used for any available Qantas Flight domestic and international bookings, departing Australia (one-way or return) and subject to terms and conditions. This advertised offer is not applicable or valid in conjunction with any other advertised or promotional offer. Subject to the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions. $450 annual fee applies.

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