John Anderson

At 22, John Anderson took 25 Pounds and an idea, and created a new product, an international brand name and a 300 Million Dollar business. It is an incredible story! That's why he is currently one of the most sought after business speakers in Australasia.

When an audience is asked "how many of you have travelled on a Contiki tour?" approximately 20% of the audience raise their hands. When asked "who know someone who has been on a Contiki tour?" all hands go up!

John Anderson was born in Wellington New Zealand, educated at Scots College and Victoria University where he studied for an accounting degree. At the age of 22 he left New Zealand for the United Kingdom on a one year “Overseas Experience”. He returned some 20 years later with his wife Alison, four children and an international tourism business – Contiki Holidays.

After a few months in London, John’s desire to see Europe was overwhelming but he had insufficient funds to achieve this. With just 25 pounds he found a way to not only see Europe, but start his own business. When John eventually sold the company it was and remains one of the worlds major tour operators. Contiki is now firmly established as an international “brand” name. It is a household name in New Zealand, Australia and Canada. An estimated 2.5 million passengers have already travelled with Contiki.  

When John Anderson sold Contiki Holidays it was, and remains, an International “brandname” and one of the worlds major tour operators, (the largest catering specifically for the 18-35 year old market). From a staff of one and a beaten-up minibus, John expanded to 700 staff, operating 160 Mercedes coaches and 15 European properties including a Chateau, Hotels, camping grounds and cruise vessels. He built brand awareness of 92% in target markets, with Contiki operating in Europe, North America and Australasia, carrying 100,000 passengers annually.

John is in great demand as a speaker. He tells the incredible story of how he developed a simple idea into one of the worlds leading tour operators. His determination to succeed, the belief in himself, his successes and failures. It is full of extremely funny and sad anecdotes which have a marked effect on the emotions of his audience.  The presentation can be adapted to suit any type of audience or occasion. John’s is a remarkable story of turning vision into reality, of challenges met with common sense business solutions but ultimately of entrepreneurship, judicious risk-taking and courage.

John's book "Only Two Seats Left" is a wonderful training programme for anyone in business and an inspiration to all.

Contiki Group – A brief summary  

He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2012 New Year Honours, for services to tourism.
The company was started in 1962 by John Anderson. It was sold 28 years later in 1989.  
Operated extensive coach tour operations in  Europe, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
Operated a fleet of 160 coaches worldwide
Built and owned 2 resort hotels in: Whitsundays, Australia (150 rooms)  Queenstown, New Zealand (150 rooms)  

Contiki Owned:
A 15th century French Chateaux (Lyon)
A Dutch Manor House (Noordgouwe, Holland)
A 55 berth Greek Schooner (Athens)
A 180 bed Lodge (Queenstown NZ)
Pudding Hill Resort (Methven NZ) Motor camps and log cabins

Contiki Leased:                  
A 13th century Italian Villa (Florence)
German and Scottish Castles, Austrian Chalets, Irish Farm Houses, a Rhine Cruiser A Mansion (New Orleans USA) etc

Contiki Highlights:

Established an International “brand name”
Had offices in Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Los Angeles, and London.
Employed 700 staff
Had a turnover of $150 million
Carried 50,000 passengers annually (currently 100,000)
 In total 1.6 million passengers have travelled Contiki. “All created from just 25 pounds!”

John Anderson talks about ...

• The Contiki Story
• Sales and Marketing: The Essential Tools of Business
• Company and Product Branding
• Turning Your Passion into a Business

More comments about John Anderson ...

“Blew everyone away….He’s great….Nice guy…Everyone had tears in their eyes…Gave it everything…his presentation was spot on the objective…seemed to understand the brief perfectly” Coca-Cola Australia

“Heart felt, emotional, touched people, connected with the audience, received standing ovation. People swarmed him afterwards. Genuine. Passionate, loved him." Tourism New Zealand

“Extremely well received by the audience, did his research and fine-tuned his address which had tremendous relevance, delivered powerful messages to a diverse mix of professionals and academics, he has a great sense of humour, outstanding!" CPA Australia Launch in NZ

“Excellent, amazing, very personable and sincere. Was almost the star of the whole conference.” NZ Motor Trade Association

“Excellent. Quite simply John was outstanding! As our closing keynote address, his Contiki journey absolutely nailed our conference theme that was 'High Voltage Business Building'. To remain so passionate about the business he founded some 40 years ago is a credit to him and was wonderful to share." Choice Aggregation Services

“Excellent! An excellent session that John adapted to suit our needs. A great opening to our conference with unanimous positive feedback across all participants" Powercor

“Excellent - John spoke with passion and emotion about the brand he built from scratch. There were so many key messages delivered from his story of growth, messages that were so relevant to our delegate audience. Sayings like "chunk of meat" will no doubt reverberate around the national dealer network for months to come.
John was so different to many motivation speakers we have presented previously because he spoke with actual experience. His message was not a sales pitch but a path to success & how he navigated it.” Goodyear Auto Service Centre

“Excellent. Overall presentation was to the point and very passionately presented. Ideal start to our conference and fitted to the audience style. Very well done." Tyrepower.

“John's presentation was made to 140 of the local business community. It was passionate, entertaining and inspiring. It was probably the longest ovation that I have heard at one of these luncheons!! John was absolutely outstanding. Our reviews of his session showed that he received maximum from everyone which is unheard of.“
Southern Cross Business Advisers

“Excellent. John Anderson's presentation was not only outstanding, but was considered by many participants to be the highlight of our entire event. John's story was in equal parts informative, entertaining and moving, leaving all of us feeling inspired and many of us feeling quite emotional. John exceeded all of our expectations by a long way: 10/10 “ RACV Business Development

“John Anderson's speech at our annual conference was truly inspiring and amazing. He captured the 300+ audience with his story and kept them hanging on for more. His emotional journey was so engaging and captivating that he was mobbed by the participants afterwards so that they could continue to hear his story personally. Many shared their own stories of being on a Contiki tour which was truly wonderful to see. John captured the essence of the conference and delivered every message with ease and relevance. The way in which John captured the key messages through his own story was through compassion, enthusiasm and passion for what he has done. I assure you that John touched everyone in the conference and his story will live with us for a long time.” National Corporation NSW


“Excellent. John delivers his message with effective and simple language that is easily understood by his audience – he also integrates humour into key messages. John sought feedback prior to the presentation on the major issues facing the Bendigo Tourism industry, and was able to provide examples during his presentation of how he had overcome similar instances while building his business from a sole operator through to a multi national. Great talk and he had the audience in the palm of his hand for almost an hour! “ City of Greater Bendigo

John's story was perfect for our audience of SME's as many of the experiences he shared with the group about taking risks, believing in yourself, continually innovating cold easily be translated to their businesses. CFC Group

“Loved John's story. Loved John's passion and the emotional journey he took us on. Loved his humour. Loved the creative thinking and risk taking aspects.” Kerry Lofgren QSPA South Sunshine Coast Branch

“Excellent. A very personal presentation and had all sections of the audience captivated young & old, his own values are those that we should have, excellent. Bosch Automotive Service Dealers Network

“Excellent, John's passion is infectious, it is then evident that he achieved all of his amazing success with not only passion but amazing business insight! He is one in a million and his humility with such success makes you realise what a wonderful person he is also.“ Proteus Leadership Centre

“John was one of the most amazing speakers I have ever heard. His story is told with such passion and conviction that you feel as if you are on the journey with him. John’s presentation included the lessons he has learnt both personally and professionally and it was so generous of him to join us for our social functions and meet our clients. He received a well-deserved standing ovation at the conclusion of his key-note.” Goldwell