Stan­tons’ world is their mar­ket

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

IT’S been a jour­ney for Bob Stan­ton, from the pro­fes­sional in­ter­na­tional golf tour years ago, to a be­spoke tour op­er­a­tor send­ing other peo­ple on jour­neys.

Mr Stan­ton and wife Lucy, who set­tled in Port Dou­glas in 2011, are a les­son in two el­e­ments of mod­ern busi­ness prac­tice – how to lever­age off your own con­tact book, and how, with the in­ter­net, the world is your oys­ter and you can work from just about any­where.

The Stan­tons run two main busi­nesses, both spe­cial­is­ing in lux­ury, cus­tomised tours.

Mr Stan­ton has been send­ing up to 300 peo­ple a year up to North­ern Aus­tralia on high end fish­ing tours, in which small groups of cor­po­rate or pri­vate clients go for guided fish­ing for­ays to re­mote places, stay­ing in qual­ity lodges and camps.

Mrs Stan­ton does like­wise, but for her it’s about her love and knowl­edge of Africa, which be­gan as a pri­vate pas­sion but which she now pack­ages to of­fer clients lux­ury sa­fari trips.

In both busi­nesses the Stan­tons have tended to use lists of in­di­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions which grew out of Mr Stan­ton’s world.

Once he was fin­ished with the pro tour, Mr Stan­ton ran sev­eral busi­nesses which stemmed from his golf­ing ca­reer.

Bob Stan­ton Golf, run­ning event man­age­ment and golf days, which he launched in 1986, had a client list that in­cluded Qantas, Lexus, Nes­tle and Wind­screens O’Brien.

“That was a good busi­ness and it started to gen­er­ate other op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Mr Stan­ton pro­fes­sional golf­ing said. He bought an 80 ft boat and brought a lot of his cor­po­rate clients on­board as share own­ers – one of the early in­stances of time­share.

He had that boat for 20 years and some­times it ran out of Cairns.

“From that we moved into golf course de­sign and con­struc­tion,” Mr Stan­ton said.

“We had a lot of fun with that.”

In later years he de­vel­oped the fish­ing busi­ness which he still has to­day.

“When we got out of the golf busi­ness,” Mr Stan­ton said, “Lucy needed some­thing to do, so we de­vel­oped African Ad­ven­tures(www.lucys­tan­ in 2011.

“It’s start­ing to get a lot of trac­tion, send­ing FIT peo­ple (free in­de­pen­dent trav­ellers) to Africa. We also do spe­cialised ac­com­pa­nied tours – to the gorillas, the an­i­mal mi­gra­tion, and a very pop­u­lar golf and sa­fari trip. Small groups, man­age­able, lots of fun.”

African Ad­ven­tures has linked with a lead­ing lux­ury sa­farai op­er­a­tor, &Be­yond, which has high end lodges and ho­tels in Africa.

“We’ve got this very pro­fes­sional com­pany be­hind us over there, of which Lucy is an agent. She builds these pack­ages with &Be­yond and Po­nant to en­sure the con­ti­nu­ity of the trip and good value and all those sorts of things,” Bob Stan­ton said.

Po­nant is a French lux­ury ex­pe­di­tion cruise op­er­a­tor, now run by Sa­rina Brat­ton, who used to run the well known Orion cruise line in Aus­tralia.

The Stan­tons mostly use their net­work of con­tacts as a source of clients. “It’s a very per­son­alised busi­ness,” said Lucy Stan­ton. “Our data­base from Bob’s busi­nesses means it works mostly from re­fer­rals.

“I love the fact that ev­ery­one comes back and says it’s the best hol­i­day they’ve ever hard, and these are peo­ple who have trav­elled the world. That’s the buzz for me.”

Bob and Lucy Stan­ton in Africa. Right — one of the lux­ury sa­fari lodges in their net­work

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