A bunch of people who started travelling and didn’t give it up. In the process of working with amazing staff, agents, travel operators, property owners, and other business partners they have been able to create a network of hostels reaching across 20 countries.
Nomads were born under a bridge
Australian hitchhiker Richard McLeod, a young entrepreneur from Broken Hill, had one of those nights when he turned up to a backpacker hostel in Koblenz, Germany one cold evening… Richard’s diary reads:
I am now in Koblenz… city of 110,000 at the junction of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. Both Tony and I hitched from Holland to Dusseldorf and on to here. Tony is missing. We split up (while hitching) intending to meet at the YHA. It was closed 13.8.1985… I will have to sleep rough tonight
Richard still had the hostel brochure that made him come to Koblenz. It showed a newly renovated Castle with great views of the Rivers. The brochure was so new he could smell the print. The brochures were distributed in all the major hostels heading to Koblenz… and yet the hostel had been closed for 6 months and had no sign of opening soon. There had to be a better way of marketing hostels to travellers! Nomads were born, albeit as a fuzzy, beer induced idea.
In February 1994 Richard started Nomads and opened the first hostel on the Murray River near Adelaide. He then spent the next decade expanding his marketing company to represent 40 hostels across Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji and in 2001 began securing long term Management Contracts with new business partner Jane Hewitt in Auckland, Cairns, Sydney, Wellington, and Fiji.
In 2003 Daniel Bunning, a young developer from Perth looking for something more exciting to do, took on ownership of Jane’s half of the company and was joined in 2005 by long term Nomads General Manager, and proud Mt Isa boy, Michael Ebert who took on Richard’s half of the company and they both retain their joint ownership of the group today. Since then Nomads has grown massively buying freehold assets and hostel leases to become one of Australia’s fastest-growing and exciting budget accommodation providers, and adventure experience marketing companies. Nomads now also own the Mad Travel Shop chain, Nomads Fraser Island 4WD tours, and is a partner in the Mojo Surf and Snow business which operates in Sydney, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, and Bali.