By Andrew Olsen – Chief executive, Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand
As we come to the close of 2019, I have a quick reflection on a few emerging trends to keep an eye on in 2020.The agent-supplier-customer ecosystem mostly functions well but we’ve seen a few situations develop which can quickly upset that equilibrium.
Since 2008 Trafalgar, alongside The Travel Corporation Family of Brand’s sister companies, has been offering staff members two paid volunteer days annually to support causes close to their hearts as part of their commitment to social responsibility.
Publishers of popular consumer travel media titles For the Love of Travel and NZ Business Traveller have launched a new travel podcast called ‘Kiwi Tripsters’.
While clients may think taking out insurance on domestic travel is unnecessary, it is something agents should at least discuss with their customers, according to a tour company that specialises in New Zealand tours for mature travellers.
Retail travel employers need to either lift salaries or get more innovative with their salary packaging options to attract and retain quality staff in a time when the sector continues to experience a skills shortage, according to a report released today.
Fixing the sector’s skill shortage, building on warning procedures in the event of likely supplier collapse, and an update on New Distribution Capability (NDC) were among the raft of subjects addressed at the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) Summit in Auckland on Friday.
Brent Thomas of House of Travel is the new president of the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ)
Sarah Hunter, general manager of GO Holidays was a nomination from the floor at the TAANZ Board meeting this morning and three other industry leaders are being co-opted onto the board - Jayne Alldred, House of Travel and Jackie Bell, Helloworld Travel (The Travel Brokers), plus one to be advised from First Travel Group.
More consultation and work between the travel and tourism industries and educators is necessary to make real change in the teaching of the subject in schools – and in the perception people hold towards travel and tourism as a career path, the SKAL Auckland club heard yesterday.
The Travel Corporation and Air New Zealand have revealed the lunch destination for the World On A Plate sales incentive – Singapore. Known as ‘food heaven’, the city-island-nation boasts a fusion of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan cultures that have created Singapore’s local cuisine and food traditions.
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.