This calendar year marks the 35th in business enterprise for Avenue Two Travel, based in Bryn Mawr, Pa. The company has come a extensive way in these four many years, with a 33% improve in workforce associates so significantly this yr, but stays a household operation at its core.
Avenue Two’s tale starts with Debbie and Craig Bush. Today, Debbie is the president and founder of the agency, whilst her partner, Craig, is its CFO. Their son, Josh, is CEO.
When Debbie and Craig had been very first married, Josh said, they traveled extensively. Following Josh was born, good friends and loved ones normally questioned for Debbie’s suggestions about journey. She made a decision to convert that assistance into a profession and went to operate for Park Avenue Vacation in Swarthmore, Pa.
Josh Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel. Photo Credit history: Courtesy of Avenue Two Vacation
Soon after Debbie labored as an agent for about 3 many years, she and Craig approached the proprietor and bought Park Avenue Journey in 1987.
Even though Craig did payroll on the weekends, Debbie “was the consummate salesperson,” Josh explained, and she helmed the business enterprise. Meanwhile, Josh grew up in the organization, but made a decision to embark on a profession in customer finance for a number of several years.
Through that time, Josh stated, “The small business changed. It improved from currently being the neighborhood travel agency serving a regional neighborhood to substantially more upscale.”
Park Avenue Travel joined API Vacation Consultants, the precursor to Virtuoso, and enmeshed by itself firmly in the luxurious house.
Meanwhile, Josh commenced working in professional and investment decision genuine estate.
“The journeys that I am using are domestic and examining into the Doubletree and receiving my warm chocolate chip cookies — that is my thought of what an amenity was,” he recalled. But Debbie and Craig were being off to South Africa and Machu Picchu and the like.
The elder Bushes started conversing about foreseeable future planning in about 2006. At the urging of Virtuoso, they resolved to chat to Josh about having around the business enterprise the company experienced four advisors at that position, which includes Debbie.
Producing some improvements
Seeking to reclaim the sort of journey he remembered carrying out as a little one and spurred by some strategically put photograph albums of Debbie and Craig’s adventures, Josh reported sure.
“They introduced me on in get to develop the organization to be capable to make it sustainable, so that we could deliver a livelihood for other men and women,” Josh said.
The agency began onboarding staff members and unbiased contractors (ICs). They labored to come across the proper combine and refine the company Josh was named CEO in 2014, and the agency moved from Park Avenue to a more substantial area and rebranded to Avenue Two Vacation.
“That is definitely exactly where the advancement program started off,” he said.
The company went from 25 to 50 employees and ICs — and retained growing. Going into the pandemic, its headcount was all around 93. And its focus was crystal clear: Avenue Two would be a host company, but also carry a equilibrium of company business enterprise.
“We had gotten definitely fantastic on the worth proposition, on what it is that we provide an independent contractor,” Josh said. “We genuinely see them as our personal, inner shoppers.”
Navigating the pandemic
Then, the pandemic occurred. Avenue Two was fortuitous in that its business lease was up in May 2020. The agency did not renew it and saved rather a little bit in actual estate costs. Josh claimed Avenue Two fully embraced heading digital and stayed in consistent communication with its staff and ICs.
“It was wholly bizarre, but by acquiring rid of the physical room, it essentially introduced our workforce nearer jointly,” he reported.
In the earlier two years, Avenue Two has recognized very a bit of growth. These days, the company stands at 70 ICs and 65 employees. In truth, Virtuoso acknowledged Avenue Two’s corporation culture with the Virtuoso Society Award in 2021.
Josh stated Avenue Two is targeted on supporting ICs by getting away the friction of selling travel and allowing them do what they do best: storytelling with purchasers. For instance, Avenue Two gives advertising and marketing support and a whole-company air section.
“We’ve place a great deal of courses in position in order to make the position of the unbiased contractor a lot easier, faster, improved, as perfectly as enabling them to reinvest and redeposit a great deal of their hard-gained cash into developing and growing their enterprises,” he stated.
Transferring forward, Josh has his vision firmly set on sustainability and what the company group can do to shift the needle (particularly when most clientele are not asking for sustainable journey).
Avenue Two is doing work with consulting organization Sustainable Wanderlust, which focuses on the luxury journey sector. The agency has also started out the approach of turning into B-Corp accredited, which establishes interest in social accountability as a organization priority. In truth, Bush mentioned, the company is on concentrate on to be the very first U.S.-based company to achieve that certification.
Avenue Two has also executed a schooling plan for advisors to have meaningful, nonjudgmental and nonpolitical conversations with clientele about sustainability.
The agency lately held its first The Collective celebration at the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, giving advisors a chance to fulfill, network and link with every single other and suppliers.
Issues continue to search shiny, as properly. Sales quantities are “way outside of” pre-pandemic figures right now, Josh explained, and Avenue Two’s model appears to be to be functioning for both equally its workforce and its ICs.
“It can be a fantastic time to be in the enterprise, and fairly frankly, I consider that we are worthy of it,” Josh explained. “We have all gone via some genuinely, seriously tough occasions. But these who have been in a position to persevere, and which is certainly our workforce, are now reaping the benefits of it, and we’re on a progress trajectory as a consequence of it.”