Billy Ballantine (left) advising a client at Lakers House of Travel, Invercargill Billy Ballantine (left) advising a client at Lakers House of Travel, Invercargill

Earlybird has ‘had its worm’

Adapting to booking patterns and constantly monitoring the costs to travel are two key factors in being a successful travel agent now, says Billy Ballantine, of Lakers House of Travel in Invercargill.
‘I think within five years no one will book anything until within six months of travel,’ says Ballantine, who is a finalist in the best travel consultant – retail category of the TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards. ‘The earlybird has had its worm and we need to adapt to this. Getting ready for the next step – as a travel agent or any business – we must always be relevant and be prepared for the unknown, continually working on our point of difference.’ He says monitoring

airfares is critical. ‘My thinking is that Kiwis will travel regardless, so is it really necessary to have the rock bottom cheap deals out in the market that we are currently experiencing?’ Ballantine is clearly not an agent who feels threatened by the internet. ‘Maybe the online thing will end up being a fad as a lot of time can be wasted in people’s time-pressured lives, searching online never actually knowing if you have the best deal or not. ‘Maintaining relationships is the key and being transparent to show what we do is also what the public want.

ProMag