The life of a travel agent heading into the 2020s has its modern challenges, but also opportunities aplenty, says a well-known practitioner who has been in the sector for 30 plus years.
Having clients who take an Antarctic cruise can form the ‘perfect base’ for repeat sells – particularly for those clients who catch the Polar bug and want to head north, says Sarah Arane, Quark Expeditions’ sales manager for New Zealand.
An annual luxury trade show in Sydney that targets agents with high net worth clients is keen to hear from New Zealand travel brokers and independents who may fit the bill as hosted buyers. Luxperience 2019 is being held 7 to 10 October and event director Michelle Papas says the expo organisers and exhibitors are recognising the growing influence of home-based, mobile agents.
‘They are not so easy to find, they are not on the High Street or in grand office buildings but many of them have high net worth clients. They tend to deal with more bespoke itineraries, soft adventure and experiential travel. We want to identify more brokers who are doing these high yielding bookings and encourage them to apply to attend Luxperience.’
Papas says registration from trade buyers so far show their average bookings are around $40,000 land-only and 13.3 nights average duration. ‘We also ask buyers when they register to give us an indication of what their clients are seeking out. Private tours and unique experiences are at 81%, 76% say food orientated experiences and 61% say nature and adventure.’
She adds that agents attending are often looking towards destination management companies and suppliers to come up with something completely different. ‘For example, one of our DMCs organised a welcome party for a small group on a private island in Sydney Harbour. ‘We also have groups of friends and family looking to charter private yachts and private aircraft. This year one of our exhibitors is the Ahoy Club where people can source super yachts.’
New Zealand customer-facing travel agents are being encouraged to apply for a major scholarship and ‘Bring the Cup home’ under the noses of their Australian counterparts.
This is the second year in a row that New Zealanders have been invited to take part in the Avis Travel Agent Scholarship – an award that has been open to Aussie agents for more than 20 years.
One of the biggest untapped resources available to New Zealand travel industry employers looking to hire is ex-travel employees seeking to rejoin the sector, says travel recruitment specialist Alisa Wilson.
Asking for help, upskilling and networking are essential ingredients for travel brokers, says one of the finalists in the Best Broker category of the TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA).
Giving agents and brokers ‘the path of least resistance to achieving their goals and growing their business is a key to being successful as an industry representative, says ‘multi rep’ Mark Richardson.
Mobile technology and the desire for business travellers to have control (and immediacy) over their own arrangements presents both challenges and opportunities for the corporate travel management sector, says Jamie Gray of Gilpin Travel.
About 80% of people applying for jobs in the travel and tourism sectors are actually more qualified than they realise, and are not reflecting their true worth on their CV, according to a recruitment specialist.
House of Travel’s ‘Better Bucket List’ digital campaign has received thousands of entries since its launch on Sunday, 2 June with trending destinations including the Greek Islands, Italy and USA – including New York, Chicago and LA.
With leisure travel at an all time high, and experiential travel being a strong motivator, travel agents were able to hear more about Marriott’s experiential rewards programme, Marriott Bonvoy, at the At Marriott event in Auckland recently.
Marriott International’s Ramesh Daryanani, VP global sales Asia Pacific, says the big trend that is inspiring families, couples and individuals to travel is experiences. ‘What we have done with Bonvoy is to make it more than just a hotel programme. We are making it more experiential where people can attend once-in-a-life-time experiences, for example, attending the Hong Kong Sevens in a suite,’ he says.
Sixty five percent of respondents in a Sabre Corporate Travel Survey say that premium economy continues to gain ground in the region.
One travel manager in three has recorded an increase of close to 5% in premium economy bookings over the last year. As travel-related expenses become a central consideration for companies, the survey also reveals that downgrades, shifting reservations from business to economy class, account for close
Frustration with South Africa’s visa dispensation system has been expressed from the highest levels of the country’s government during Africa’s Travel Indaba last week.
Tom Manwaring CEO / director at Express Travel Group (ETG) says the company did not enter into negotiations with First Travel Group on the basis that ‘X, Y and Z members’ would agree.
New Zealand’s tourism planning has in part been based on inaccurate and unreliable forecasting and it is now time for a dose of realism, a hotel conference in Auckland heard this week.
Embracing the research that clients do online but the taking the core information and ‘decluttering it’ to make a tailored experience is a major key to success for the modern day travel designer, according to a double TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards winner.
The growth and development of modern luxury, plus identifying a need to service the sector in a dedicated way, are key reasons for the formation of Our Luxe, according to creator of the Our World sub-brand Lindy Christian.
By Belinda Peddie, TMS Talent
Career coaching, is not just another fancy buzz word. In reality it’s something that could give tourism and travel professionals the edge needed to take their career to the next level, according to the Auckland-based recruitment team manager at a leading staffing agency.
Group travel to Asia is continuing to be strong out of New Zealand, driven particularly by Indonesia / Bali programmes, according to a leisure and incentive destination management company that held a trade function at White and Wongs, Auckland last week.
Travel business owners who have put in the hard yards are being rewarded with good prices when selling in the current market, according to an Auckland based accountant who specialises in the industry.
Paul Davies of TA Accounting Limited says there is a lot of buying, selling and merging activity going on right now and a number of travel business owners are taking advantage.
‘Businesses where owners have been working on them for a few years and are profitable are commanding a good price,’ he says.
Now is an ideal time for people to consider a career move into travel consulting, as well as for existing travel consultants to look for new opportunities, according to the head of a leading travel and hospitality recruitment agency.
John Terry, group managing director TMS Talent, says the New Zealand travel job scene is a ‘candidate short market’ right across the country.
Seasonal and regional dispersal remain the biggest challenges faced by our mushrooming tourism industry.
While New Zealand’s distance from many international markets is often a major focus, it is Australia’s proximity that can present its own challenges, the CAPA New Zealand Summit was told.
A focus on employing locals and supporting communities and environment are a major part of Asia DMC’s activities in Burma, a visitor from the company has been telling New Zealand agents over the past week.
Playing ‘pied piper’ is often a successful strategy for travel agents looking to develop a niche and point of difference, says Aaron Russ, director of Wild Earth Travel.
The travel agency sector is seeing increased activity when it comes to interest in business sales and acquisitions, according to an Auckland based accountant who specialises in the industry.
Travel agents can turn ‘price driven customers’ into value driven ones, and earn money themselves by being engaged and presenting an experience they would not have thought of themselves, the First Travel Group Conference heard over the weekend.