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.