100 Years Of Being Driven By Service

Jan 16, 2020 | TTC

The sleep fishing village of Paternoster as it looked when my grandfather Solomon first arrived.

Dear Traveler,

January of 2020 marks the beginning of a new year, a new decade and, for those of us at The Travel Corporation, the start of a new century. It is a natural time to look forward and chart a path into the future, which is what we have been doing. Yet it is also a time to reflect back, with deep gratitude, on the efforts of those on whose shoulders we stand, who have brought us to where we are today. And when I do that, I think of my grandfather, Solomon Tollman.

Born in 1895 in the small town of Riteve, Lithuania Solomon – or Solly, as he came to be known – was one of eighteen children. At the age of 14, he fled the country, escaping six years of military conscription and a lifetime of oppression under the Czar. With nothing more than the few gold rubles my great-grandmother had stitched into his clothing, Solomon was smuggled out of the country on a train, to make his way across Europe to England, where he purchased a steerage class ticket on a steam ship bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Working his way up the coast he arrived in the sleepy fishing village of Paternoster, where he spotted an old building that had once been a community center. Hard- working and passionate, Solomon saw this run-down fixer-upper as the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to build something great. Purchasing and refurbishing it, he opened it as “The Paternoster Hotel.” That was August of 1920 – and the start of The Travel Corporation.

It was in that hotel that my family’s passion for service developed. He treated every guest as though they were his only guest, welcoming each with the warmth and hospitality he had not found in his own travels. Working day and night, he built that hotel into a thriving business. In the process, he defined our family legacy: Driven by Service. While much has changed over the past 100 years, this passionate focus has remained exactly the same, and is precisely the attitude that defines each company within The Travel Corporation today.

My father Stanley as a young boy living at the Paternoster Hotel

A few years later Solomon married my grand-mother, Evelyn, and it was in 1930 that they welcomed the arrival of my father, Stanley Tollman who is, to this day, TTC’s Chairman and guiding visionary. A few years later the family moved from Paternoster to the thriving metropolis of Johannesburg, where they purchased The Palace hotel, which was to become Stanley’s childhood home. When my father and his brother, Arnold, were not in school they worked at the hotel. Just as The Paternoster was recognized for its dedication to service, so was The Palace.

Though my father is a natural hotelier, my grandparents had other plans for him, for they knew what hard work it was. They sent him to university to become a pharmacist, a subject in which he had little interest. Everything changed in 1952, when Solomon and Evelyn set off on six month trip around the world, asking Stanley to keep an eye on The Palace Hotel and its general manager.

Upon their return in 1953, my grandparents were shocked to learn that, in their absence, Stanley had dropped out of university, fired the hotel’s general manager and was now running it himself – with great success. “I have decided,” he announced, “that I am, and always will be, a hotelier.” So it was, at the age of 22, that my father found the work he loved, embarking on the career that would change his life and the world of travel.

It was that same year he met the other great love of his life, my mother, Beatrice. They married in 1954, sharing a love for each other and the passion for service that defines our family. With the money they received for wedding gifts, they leased a newly built 22 room hotel in Johannesburg, The Nugget. It was there that my father was to learn what my grandfather truly meant when he said “Driven by Service.”

My mother Bea and father Stanley celebrating what would become a 65 year marriage – a love story still as strong today as it was when they first met.

One night, as two guests dined in The Nugget’s otherwise empty restaurant, my father looked out the window at the busy restaurant across the street. “What have they got that we don’t?” he asked his father. My grandfather shook his head.

“You must never do that,” he said. “You must not worry about what someone else is doing. You have two customers. Take great care of them. Give them the best possible experience. They will come back – with two more. And those four will turn to eight, those eight to sixteen and on and on….”

And that’s exactly what my father did. By the end of the year, The Nugget was the most famous hotel in Johannesburg.

Much has changed over the years, as my parents welcomed me, my brother, and two sisters into the world. We work within TTC today, and my parents, who recently celebrated 65 years of marriage, are as actively involved as ever. What began with a small hotel on the coast of South Africa has grown into a successful, still family owned and run global business, with 42 award-winning brands helping millions of travelers each year to discover the world.

” You must not worry about what someone else is doing. You have two customers. Take great care of them. Give them the best possible experience. They will come back with two more. And those four will turn to eight, those eight to sixteen and on and on….”

– Solomon Tollman

Looking ahead to this year, this decade, and the start of our second century, there is hopefully much more growth and change to come, and we are tremendously excited about it. But one thing will never change, that attitude of truly caring for our travelers and treating you like family. Sincerely, Brett Tollman

Sincerely,
Brett Tollman

A very special moment with my daughter Ella and my father Stanley outside of where it all began at the Paternoster Hotel.

DRIVEN BY SERVICE

Play Button

Latest articles

Hawaii beach - Top 10 Best Islands To Visit In The World In 2021

Top 10 Best Islands to Visit in The World in 2021

We can all agree that 2020 wasn’t the year we had thought it would be. Many holidays and island getaways put on hold while we took an extended breath and deep sigh. Instead we dreamed of faraway places and island getaways, and reminisced of what it...
Top Train Travel Trips From Around The World To Get You On The Right Track

Top Train Travel Trips from Around the World to Get You on the Right Track

Traveling by train is a great way to see a destination and add variety to your mode of transport - from luxury journeys to speedy bullet trains and large regional rail networks, there’s a plethora of options to choose from. So, why not take the train...
A Bridge From The Past To The Future

A Bridge From The Past To The Future

Dear Traveler, There are times when we can actually see the curve of history unfolding around us. 2020 has been such a year, and by no means easy. Most painfully, many have lost loved ones to this awful pandemic. Many others have lost their jobs and...
When We Travel Again

When We Travel Again

Dear Traveler, As we approach the end of 2020, we look back with a sigh at the year of travel that was not – then turn our focus to dreams of future travel. Like you, those of us at The Travel Corporation have been watching closely for signs of...
mountain road in italy in what is a destination management company

What is a Destination Management Company (DMC)?

  What is a Destination Management Company (DMC)?   The travel industry is a very big place. You may have worked in it for many years and still never heard of a destination management company. If you haven't, though, you could be missing out on...
Man-Orange-tree-Italy-why-use-a-destination-management-company

Why Use a Destination Management Company (DMC)?

Why use a destination management company (DMC)?   DMCs are excellent service providers. But if you've never worked with one before, it's easy to think that services are the only way they can add value to your business. On the contrary,...
rooftops, Santorini, how to create a travel package product in Greece the Travel Corporation

How to Create a Travel Package Product in Greece

White-sand beaches, incredible food and more history than one can explore in a lifetime - Greece is truly a dream holiday destination. For that reason, it attracts a lot of attention from travel brands. If you want to create a successful travel...
Two woman sitting in a boat, white label travel product the Travel Corporation

How Does a White-Label Travel Product Work?

Here at The Travel Corporation, we talk a lot about our white-label travel product packages. That's because they provide such a huge benefit to our partners. However, not everyone in the industry has used a white-label service before or knows what...
Smiling friends at a beach - five travel experience trending in 2021 The Travel Corporation

Five Travel Experiences Trending in 2021

The last 18 months have been tough on the travel industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought down entire businesses and ground the industry to an abrupt halt. But for those of us still standing on the other side, there's a great deal to look forward...
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in The World in 2021 - New Zealand

Top 10 Best Places to Visit in The World in 2021

As we start to look forward to what lies ahead with the excitement of travel corridors, travel bubbles and restrictions being lifted -  the optimism is making a come back as we kick start our love for all things wanderlust… so yes, it’s time to start...