Eco War­riors

ABC (Australia) - - DRIVEN -

In 2016 FOF won the pres­ti­gious Steve Ir­win award for eco tourism, achiev­ing cli­mate ac­tion leader sta­tus which only 12 com­pa­nies within Aus­tralia have achieved. FOF is a unique coach com­pany whose tours are tai­lored to dif­fer­ent ‘fit­ness lev­els’ for cus­tomers, as well as has ‘hid­den se­cret’ ex­tra VIP suprises for them.

Toni Bren­nan says the com­pany started in Au­gust, 2002, when she was based in Ye­poon, Cen­tral Queens­land, set­ting up hol­i­day pack­ages for ho­tel guests where she orig­i­nally worked as a re­cep­tion­ist. With past cus­tomers call­ing from Bris­bane to ask her to put to­gether pack­ages, she thought, ‘Why not?’

As the busi­ness grew, FOF con­tacted third-party op­er­a­tors as it didn’t even have a bus at this stage, but it found the qual­ity from these op­er­a­tors just wasn’t there.

“We just found it very hard to rely on the qual­ity of coaches and driv­ers to rep­re­sent our brand. I was very fo­cused on be­ing el­e­gant and pro­vid­ing qual­ity ser­vice. To me pre­sen­ta­tion is ev­ery­thing, I knew what I ex­pected and I wasn’t get­ting it,” she said.

Bren­nan says FOF is dif­fer­ent be­cause, “We care. We of­fer all-in­clu­sive tours – tell us what you want and we do the rest. A lot of com­pa­nies over­promise and un­der­de­liver; our recipe for suc­cess is to have a few hid­den se­crets – free wel­come drinks, a suprise com­edy show – so you get more than you ex­pected!”

“We spon­sor the Man from Snowy River Bush Fes­ti­val, which at­tracts 5000-7000 peo­ple, and we have ex­clu­sive use of a mar­quee, so our trav­ellers feel very spe­cial.

“At Opera in the Vine­yard at Bul­ladeen and the Elvis fes­ti­val, we have the very front row [for our guests]. We do pay ex­tra for that priv­i­lege but the dif­fer­ence goes to char­ity.

“It’s all those things that we de­liver but don’t ad­ver­tise that makes all the dif­fer­ence.”

“We also have a pro­gramme called Our Peo­ple Our Planet, where we do­nate $10 from ev­ery pas­sen­ger into a green bank.

“Ev­ery time we travel to a re­gion we do­nate to con­ser­va­tion projects within the re­gion like the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor ser­vice and the Great Bar­rier Reef.

“We have tours were we do plant­ings, re­ju­ve­na­tion and con­ser­va­tion work – ev­ery­one gets a T-shirt and cap with a “Be­ing Seen Be­ing Green” logo on it and gets re­ally in­volved.

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