In the late 1990s Mrs Rossi and the board explored ways for her to exit the business and it was finally decided to sell the business in 2000. For the previous six years I had been working in financial services pursuing a new career. Several bids were received from external parties to buy Mary Rossi Travel but it was the competitive offer from me and Roger Hudson (my husband) that was accepted by Mum and Dad. They were delighted that the business would stay in the family and I took over in August 2000.
There were challenges ahead and many people told me that the internet would destroy our business. Instead we embraced it and launched our first website in 2001. Within a year of coming on board every consultant in the business had access to the internet from their own computer (instead of just one at the front of the office) and they had their own email address. This was really cutting edge in the early 2000s.
Less predictable were the challenges that September 11, 2001 brought to the travel industry. No one wanted to leave home. Bali bombings, SARS, swine flu were all hurdles that our tight team were able to overcome with the support of our loyal customers. By 2007 the economy and confidence were booming again only to be undone by the GFC. We coped!
Our focus during this period was the luxury end of the market which required additional training and an understanding of what affluent travellers valued. We already knew it wasn’t glitz and glamour. We sought out experiences and comfort and hassle free travel. We recognised the joys of cruising and active outdoor pursuits like walking tours and river cruising. Travel with family and friends was back on the agenda. We have been a finalist and five times winner of the Luxury Travel Magazine Gold List Best Luxury Travel Agent for the past nine years.
In 2004 we were invited to be the inaugural Australian/New Zealand members of Virtuoso. This is a worldwide association of luxury travel agents and includes a network luxury hotels, lodges, cruise companies and destination specialist tour companies with insider access throughout the globe.
Towards the end of 2010 Mary Rossi Travel acquired the business of Intertravel. This was a smaller business located in Lindfield on Sydney’s North Shore about 15 minutes’ drive from our then North Sydney office. Trading as Mary Rossi Travel Lindfield commenced on 2nd January 2011. The clients and staff of both offices embraced the changes involved in this merging of two cultures.
As Mary Rossi Travel continued to grow, we ran out of space in both our offices. In 2014 we moved our North Sydney office one suburb away to Neutral Bay. A few weeks later the Lindfield office moved to new larger premises just a block away from their old office of more than twenty years.
In early 2020, the impact of the global pandemic hit the travel industry hard, and it continues to do so. The decision was taken to temporarily close our Lindfield office and relocate staff to Neutral Bay. Mary Rossi Travel will be back in Lindfield in the future, but until then we are loving having the Mary Rossi Team united and working together under one roof in our Neutral Bay office.
May, 2021 marks the end of an era with the passing of Mrs Rossi aged 95. Mary Rossi Travel continues to this day to uphold the importance of integrity and the joy human connection that Mrs Rossi so embodied. Her legacy lives on.
We look forward to sharing our future with you.