‘The major New Zealand brands are taking it (brokering) more seriously and really it was only a matter of time – we were waiting for it to happen.’
Lee refers particularly to the acquisition of Travel Managers Group by Flight Centre and the launching of Travel Advocates in the House of Travel sector.
‘Clearly they will be getting more aggressive. House of Travel knows the broker market; they have some 500 Travel Managers in Australia, but they have been a bit slower here.’
Overlaying everything, according to Lee, is major potential growth in the broker sector as a whole.
‘In the United States, 50% of the retail travel sector is home-based, so why can’t it happen here? We feel that at the moment home-based brokers represent 15% to 20% of retail frontline staff in New Zealand.
‘So our goal is for the travel broker community, not just us, to be the entrusted service provider in retail travel in New Zealand.’