Luke & Karl Trouchet

Luke & Karl Trouchet
APOLLO MOTORHOME HOLDINGS
AUTOMOTIVE

Age: 34 and 32
Business Est: 1985
Number of staff: 300
Growth: 15 per cent
Turnover: $100 million

KARL and Luke Trouchet have made millions out of the rental camper van market, taking their global ambitions one step further this year by buying a 20 per cent stake in a listed Canadian company. We speak to CEO Luke Trouchet about what entrepreneurship means to him and the lessons learned along the way.

How important is it for a businessperson to have an international outlook and what obstacles did you find getting involved with CanaDream? Was it a difficult decision to make?

In a global and online society, it is crucial that businesspeople maintain an international outlook. With the widespread availability of online tools to compare products and services, business practices and pricing are more transparent than ever before.

Thankfully, we did not face many obstacles when investing in CanaDream as the decision was part of the company’s natural evolution — it offers a quality product and is a sound, profitable business.

We offer support at a board level, and moving forward we are looking at synergies such as joint marketing.

With goals to become the next Avis or Hertz of the campervan market, what do you see as your biggest challenges at the moment?

Our biggest challenge is managing geographically diverse locations, and developing information systems which aid the flow of information between staff, departments, countries and so on.

What is your business strategy?

We aim to maximise revenue by supporting our travel industry partners via constant innovation, continued development of information systems and by ensuring our service and product are the best in the industry.

What does it take to make a successful entrepreneur, not just now but in the long term?

You need a clear vision of what you want to achieve and to commit to that vision. You also need to be honest with yourself — know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at.

For the long term you need to be open to new ideas, as great ideas are the life-blood of business success. However, you can’t be everything to everyone. This is why a clear vision is critical.

What have been the biggest setbacks for you over the course of the last couple of decades?

The tourism industry in general has suffered in the aftermath of events such as September 11, the collapse of Ansett, SARS, the Iraq War and now the Global Financial Crisis. While Apollo has certainly felt the impact of these events, thankfully, we have been able to make the most of them. We have managed to turn times of crisis into some of our biggest growth periods.

Our existing sound financial management, market intelligence and strong partnerships have certainly contributed to the sturdy foundation which has been essential to our survival.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in business?

Surround yourself with talented people, ones smarter than yourself and your business will prosper.

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