It hasn't been an easy couple of years for agencies that work a lot in the tourism, travel or hospitality sectors, or for their clients. The Mint Partners' recent announcement of a sizzling start to 2022, with an expanding team and new senior hires, prompted us to sit down for a chat with Founder and Managing Director, Genevieve Taubman Campbell, to find out how they fared, what is happening now that borders are reopening, and what is on the horizon for this Sydney headquartered agency.
Genevieve, can you give us a quick snapshot of The Mint Partners - where are you based and what are your areas of focus?
The Mint Partners is an independent Oceanic agency creating insight-led, integrated communications campaigns for global companies, local heroes and premium, luxury brands.
We offer a full suite of creative communications services across paid, owned and earned channels.
Our head office is based in Paddington, Sydney and we have a presence on the ground in New Zealand, with strong client representation in all Australian capital cities and regional areas.
It's been a weird couple of years, especially for an agency that has a lot of travel and tourism clients. MINT Partners seems to be getting off to a flyer in 2022, but before we look at that, how have you, and your clients, fared over the past two years? Does travel comms during this kind of thing become all about wishful thinking or the aspirational?
It certainly has been a challenging and highly volatile operating environment over the last two years. While we have continued to work through the highs and lows with all our clients, it was a priority for us to work in partnership with our travel and tourism clients. We created initiatives to support them during downtime, and ensured they were ready with plans to roll out as soon as business was able to restart. While international travel was non-existent, regional areas were doing very well with the domestic market, and this presented opportunity on the domestic front.
We also expanded on our client and category mix, adding Cbus Property’s luxury 111 Castlereagh development to our roster, launched the BNPL tech giant Klarna into the Australian market and worked with online furniture retailer Koala. These sectors were in high demand during the peak of the pandemic. The luxury sector also performed exceedingly well, as consumers funnelled spending into watches and cars rather than overseas holidays.
Our dedication to diversity in terms of category and service offer was one of the reasons we were able to weather the COVID effect.
How has 2022 started for you?
MINT has enjoyed a successful start to 2022 with an increased client portfolio and an expansion of current client servicing. As a result, we have bolstered the team and we and have recently made several new senior hires, along with a series of internal promotions.
In FY21 the agency grew by 23 per cent, boasting a 20 per cent profit margin - our most commercially successful year to date. FY22 got off to a slower start with the extended lockdown, however the new year saw a big bounce back from March and we have written record months in April and May.
We’ve seen an amazing rebound across all categories, with the return of in-person events presenting impactful opportunities for clients. We’ve designed and implemented a series of high-profile events that we’re truly proud of, including:
- Leveraging Marriott International’s partnership with Tennis Australia at this year’s Australian Open, hosting media and influencers throughout the tournament.
- We hosted an “inner-circle” event at the Formula 1 Grand Prix to celebrate Daniel Ricciardo’s continued collaboration with St Hugo Wines, unveiling the new DR3 release and a limited-edition racing shoe decanter.
- We recreated the world-famous Broome Camel Train on Palm Beach in Sydney as a high-profile activation to entice Australia’s east coast to visit Western Australia.
The team are having a great time, really loving their work and embracing the opportunity to host events and meet again in person.
On top of that we have launched a comprehensive integrated PR and communications training programme for our team covering the full range of technical public relations disciplines, strategy and planning for creative campaigns, as well as a mentorship programme, self-directed learning opportunities and professional leadership training.
Borders are reopening in many parts of the world - has anything changed about how people are looking at and approaching travel, and how travel and tourism operators are communicating with them?
As soon as the domestic and international borders opened, the pent-up demand for travel was evident.
Feedback we’re getting from our travel clients is that bookings are coming from several channels, with an increase in direct bookings.
Initially, international travel experienced a return to using travel advisors and agents, as they were able to help navigate the insurances, restrictions and the various covid-safe travel conditions that were in place in different destinations. Bookings were, and still are, with much shorter lead times than pre-covid, with many booking one to seven days in advance.
This meant that we had to be agile in our communications, ensuring we were using channels that would get our messages out with immediacy, and that our clients were geared up to ride on the wave of the renewed peak in interest.
What is next for MINT - is an overseas adventure on the cards?
After a robust start to the year, we will be continuing to bed down all our client plans and continue to deliver on the great results we’ve achieved to date in 2022.
We have given our showroom a full refresh and are welcoming back media and partners to MINT HQ to view the most recent collections for Celine, Roger Vivier, Sunglass Hut and Bang & Olufsen.
We are also looking to bolster our presence in New Zealand...you’ll hear more about both soon.