Return to retail

Return to retail

Becoming a broker after a number of years away from retailing has been made easier by the availability of new technology, according to a broker who returned to the ‘front-line’ just over a year ago.

Mark Hutchinson joined NZ Travel Brokers about a year ago.

Although his background does include considerable retail and wholesale experience, he was on the supplier side of the industry (including 15 years at Air Tahiti Nui) before taking the broker plunge.

‘All the back office and information systems were easier to learn than expected. I was able to source and issue air tickets immediately.’

He says what took more time was learning and relearning about available products and making sure he had the answers for customers.

‘It was about getting up to date with touring companies, cruises, wholesalers and other suppliers.’

Like starting in any business, generating revenue can be in the ‘scary/ challenging’ column.

‘I think you’ve got to really focus on the building blocks – developing the relationships with clients and with suppliers. If you work with your contacts, starting with family and friends and your network group, and provide the right service the revenue will come after that.’

Hutchinson says having friends become clients has often meant he has much more contact with them than he otherwise would have.

‘That has been rewarding but you have to do it carefully. You wait for them to come to you and make sure you look after them when they do.’

Hutchinson says he has been deliberately setting about being ‘as good as I can at general travel first’ but does have plans to offer specific expertise on French Polynesia.

‘I have had quite a few customers already who have utilised my knowledge of the destination and that has come without any overt marketing.