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Award winner, twice

An online travel agent in Gisborne is taking on global players and following in the footsteps of some of New Zealand’s biggest tech companies, winning awards on both sides of the Tasman.

Bookme was last week announced the winner of the Best Online Travel Agent category at the Adventure Tourism Awards in Australia. The awards recognise large and small businesses from Australia and New Zealand for their contribution to the tourism industry across 30 categories.

In addition, Bookme was a winner at the Deloitte Festival of Growth, ranking 12th on the Master of Growth Index and the fastest-growing tourism business represented in the category for 2019.

“It’s also noteworthy that Bookme have ranked on Deloitte’s high growth company indexes every year now since 2013 which is a pretty remarkable result and puts the company among an elite few,” Gisborne-based founder and CEO James Alder said.

The Master of Growth Category celebrates sustained business growth over the longer term putting the spotlight on established SMEs requiring a baseline turnover of over $5 million in the 2015 financial year to qualify for entry.

The accolades coincide with Bookme marking nine years in the market, going live on November 16, 2010, from Queenstown.

“We are absolutely honoured to receive these two awards in the same week,” Mr Alder said.

“Not only has the company experienced significant year-on-year growth, Bookme has now been acknowledged for its contribution to excellence and innovation within the tourism sector throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The company’s competitors were now the likes of Expedia and other “big international” operators.

“We have a number of new developments that are very scaleable for a wider market.”

Despite expansion plans, he had no wish to leave Gisborne.

“We certainly like the advantages the regions give to businesses, in terms of providing a good lifestyle balance for staff, cheaper property and cheaper rent. I think the options to set up and run a tech companies from Gisborne are awesome.”

MOVING UP: Gisborne man and CEO of Bookme.co.nz James Alder (centre) with the award for his online travel agent business last year. He is flanked by Deloitte private partner Shari Carter and Bookme director Richard Thomas. Picture supplied