The role of the niche wholesaler is only increasing as consumers become more knowledgeable and the ‘long tail’ of products and experiences continues to grow, according to Eclipse Travel, one of the finalists in the niche wholesaler category of TAANZ NTIA.
Proactive and innovative agents stand to benefit as much as airlines do from increased flexibility that the New Distribution Capability (NDC) will bring to the travel industry, according to a speaker at Travelport Live in Bangkok this week.
Blending human service and technology to provide a simple end to end solution is one of the keys (and major challenges) in corporate travel today, says Peter Barlow, managing director of BCD Travel.
A growing trend towards ‘senior gap years’ and other experiential travel by baby boomers provides opportunities for agents, according to a report released in New Zealand yesterday.
Travel agents using Tramada Systems’ travel technology platform, Tramada®, can now engage leisure and corporate customers using Umapped’s interactive, media-rich itineraries that feature personalised offers and content, live updates, two-way messaging, real-time chat, and more.
Conducting four trade famils in the first week of operation illustrates how importantly Emirates regards its early education of travel agents when it comes to its Auckland – Denpasar (Bali) – Dubai service, says the airline’s regional manager New Zealand, Chris Lethbridge.
Remember why you started in the travel industry in the first place – that’s the tip on how to have a strong beginning in the sector from Danielle Scott, customer experience manager with House of Travel.
Scott is a finalist in the Best Young Travel Agency Executive – Retail category of the TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards having first joined HOT in the product team after leaving university in 2016. ‘Sometimes we get so busy being busy we forget that this travel opportunity for our customers could be the highlight of their year and that they get the same excitement to experience a different country and culture that we do. That’s why we do what we do. ‘I think it is good to remember this during every interaction, to ensure we are helping hype the anticipation and the excitement for the customer.’
Scott manages the Voice of Customer programme at House of Travel and much of her time is spent interpreting and utilising customer feedback to help improve the products HOT provides, the systems it utilises and the overall customer experience at House of Travel. ‘The consistent trend with our customers is that their expectation of what constitutes great service continues to rise year on year and their tolerance of substandard service lessens. ‘Since implementing our Voice of Customer programme 18 months ago we have seen significant improvement in what were already exceptionally high NPS (Net Promoter Scores).
Auckland Airport is predicting international passenger growth will continue at a rate of at least 4% per year over the next five years, despite increasing fuel prices, a hotel industry gathering in Auckland heard yesterday.
If the New Distribution Capability is going to ‘take off’ and reach its full potential, it needs to develop from an airline / IATA initiative to a collaborative effort from all sides of the value chain, according to technology company Amadeus.
The Travel Corporation’s New Zealand offce is well on the way to becoming plastic free, just as the global company has announced that it will phase out all single-use plastics over the next five years.
Viking has announced the launch of free info sessions in Auckland on 3 July 2018 and Christchurch on 5 July 2018. Viking experts will present on the benefits of Viking for both river and ocean cruises. The sessions go for one hour and are held throughout the day and evening in each location. Travel agents are encouraged to attend with their clients and can reserve seating featuring signage with their agency branding, or to increase product knowledge and get the latest Viking news. Visit bit.ly/VikingAuckland for Auckland reservations, bit.ly/VikingChristchurch for Christchurch reservations and agents can reserve seats with agency signage by emailing email@example.com
Restricting visitor numbers (Ibiza) and upping fines for bad behaviour by tourists (Venice) are among strategies introduced at European tourist hotspots in recent years as locals kick back against growing pressure on natural resources and ‘over-tourism’. But at Africa’s Travel Indaba this week, tourism stakeholders were encouraged to ‘think holistically’ about mitigating the industry’s negative impacts and encourage guests to be part of responsible tourism.
A new, low cost hotel capable of accommodating hundreds of visitors a night has opened in Queenstown.
The five story Jucy Snooze, is a 276 bed, pod hotel expected to provide welcome relief from the growing shortage of accommodation in the region.
The record response to an inbound trade event being held in Auckland this week reflects the positive overall state of the industry, organisers say.
More than 120 inbound operator (IBO) senior staff from 52 companies will attend the Regional Tourism New Zealand event at Heritage Auckland’s Grand Tea Room on Wednesday and Thursday.
New Zealand’s cruise future is bright, despite existing challenges, a strong contingent of SKAL Auckland members and guests heard yesterday.
Debbie Summers, executive director of IDNZ and chair of NZ Cruise, says some 350,00 cruise passengers are forecast to arrive in New Zealand in 2018-2019 – a massive jump from 200,000 in the past season. There are expected to be 1000 port calls, up from 791.
Much needed new hotel inventory in New Zealand is being held back by commercial issues around their construction.
This is despite investors and developers keen to take advantage of favourable business conditions, according to one of the country’s leading hospitality and tourism industry consultants.
CLIA’s Plan a Cruise Month will have a name change this year. The October campaign will be renamed Choose Cruise and will have an increased focus on consumer awareness.
This is in line with the organisation developing new consumer promotional material for agents to use throughout the year.
The opening of the Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge expected late this year will make Macao an even more important inclusion and add on to a visit to Hong Kong by Kiwis, according to Richard Froggatt, the New Zealand representative for the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
The office has a number of initiatives lined up to increase the destination’s profile this year including a media trip on right now and a product managers’ famil in April.
Despite record numbers of Kiwis to Hawaii last year, the destination faces three major challenges for 2018.
According to Roy Morgan research conducted in August-September last year, two top barriers for consumers are Hawaii being too expensive to get to and too expensive to stay.
More Kiwis travelling to Tuscany, and staying longer, was the impetus for the Italian region to visit New Zealand for the first time this week.
Alberto Peruzzini, managing director of the Tuscany Tourist Board, says the number of New Zealand visitors increased by 5% in 2017 over 2016, with room nights increasing by 9% to 100,000.
Recognising each other’s strengths, looking for points of difference and not having a proprietary attitude towards clients has all helped lead to success for central Otago (Queenstown) based xtravel.
Victoria (Tori) Keating and Niki Davies both had wide experience in the trade before forming the broker partnership and now (with contractor Kate Rule-Munro) operate a successful brokering business, which includes oering its own specialised tours.
The youth market could be the next frontier for the cruise sector – with 18 to 35s yet embracing that form of holiday.
Sarah Bedford, country manager of STA Travel, says the key is to have cruise product designed for youth and she welcomes developments such as U by Uniworld (offered by The Travel Corporation).
Adventure World has been named as the exclusive GSA for US-based wildlife small group operator Natural Habitat Adventures.
Working in partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Natural Habitat Adventures has worked in responsible adventure travel and ecotourism since its founding in 1985.
New Zealand’s tourism industry is celebrating the reopening of State Highway 1 north of Kaikōura last week.
‘Tourism Industry Aotearoa and our members are hugely grateful for the enormous effort that has gone into rebuilding this important visitor route so quickly,’ says Advocacy manager Steve Hanrahan.
The tourism industry’s contribution to New Zealand is reflected in new economic statistics, according to Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
The 2017 Tourism Satellite Account shows that more than 230,000 people are directly employed in tourism (8.4% of the workforce), with another 168,357 or 6.1% indirectly employed.
Once thought to be only for unwashed backpackers willing to endure hardship and discomfort to get an authentic experience, now adventure travel attracts a much more mainstream group. Well-heeled professionals, romantic couples and sporty families all want more adventure, nature and culture from their holidays. But the core demographic that is leading the double-digit growth for Adventure World is the ‘Bucket-List Baby Boomer’.
They already hold the purse strings when it comes to a huge chunk of traveller spending power and with a growing trend towards more lucrative long-haul adventures among cash-rich and time-rich older travellers, the size of the potential market is vast.
Regional Tourism Organisations around New Zealand are making calls for a national discussion on tourism tax.
This week the Labour Government is seeking advice from officials on its pre-election policy that would see international visitors pay a $25 tax at the border.
RTNZ executive officer Charlie Ives says New Zealand needs an agreed, rational, structured approach that benefits tourism.
Back-Roads Touring has just launched its 2018 Cruise and Sail brochure that features a range of small-group tours, something country manager New Zealand, Dennis Basham says is a growing trend for the Kiwi market.
‘The market is growing rapidly as guests are looking to escape the large group scenarios, long lines and wait times. The small-group market allows guests to enjoy local cultural experiences but with full support from a dedicated and experienced guide and driver,’ he says.
Travel agents and brokers may be working harder than ever for their money, but there is no question that they are gaining ground back from the online competition, the NZ Travel Brokers conference heard over the weekend.
‘OTAs (online travel agents) around the world are struggling; many have plummeting share prices,’ says Steve Lee, director of NZTB.
‘They are not getting the traction that they had at the start because travel agents are fighting back. OTAs are getting bad press and people are getting sick of the misleading information they are finding on the internet.
A plea for authenticity was made by new Tourism Minister, Kelvin Davis, at the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Summit, in Wellington last week.
‘Get the right people telling the right stories in the right way; it’s very powerful. I need to say there are some not so genuine people telling not such genuine stories.’
The Minister praised a cruise passenger tour of Northland war sites, guided by a kaumatua who was a descendant of both Hōne Heke and the leader of the British forces, and had great story-telling skills.
New Caledonia’s Promenade Tours is focusing on giving the travel trade new ways to make commission in the destination while also giving clients an enriched experience.
Manager Julie Cassin says wholesalers and retail agents would typically package airfares, transfers and accommodation, primarily around Noumea.
‘We’re committed to helping them earn incremental income.’
Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays has just had its biggest month yet in terms of incentive groups and other business events.
Hamilton Island’s Julie Ford, who is in Auckland now for today’s PAICE event, says the biggest month prior to October 2017 was November 2010.
The strong performance in October signalled a quick and dramatic recovery after Cyclone Debbie ripped through the region in March this year.
Best Western Australasia(BWA) says SureStay, its new economy hotel brand, is coming to New Zealand and Australia.
Head of commercial, Steve Richards says fruitful discussions are underway with a number of hotels and anticipates the first property will go live in early 2018 with others to follow.he
Richards says Best Western sees the economy sector as a major network growth opportunity, especially across regional areas with a lot of competition but little brand differentiation.
Film tourists trespassing on private land and trampling over vulnerable natural areas, plus entire communities feeling displaced by visiting film buffs are issues the film tourism sector must urgently address.
Speaking at a joint Tourism Ireland/Tourism New Zealand Screen Tourism discussion, in Wellington last week, industry experts warned that maintaining the natural integrity of film locations and the ‘social licence’ to visit them are essential.
Diehard fans come with great expectations.
River cruising in Europe is more popular for second-, third- and fourth-time cruisers.
That’s according to Nicky Denvir, travel agent at HOT Botany, who says it’s normally an ocean cruise first, and then the next time the river cruising is what she would recommend.
One year in the making, Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook service is winging its way to Auckland, with LSG Sky Chefs curating and producing the vision.
Book the Cook gives First Class, Business Class and Premium Economy guests leaving Auckland the opportunity to book a main course from a curated fine dining menu, up to 48 hours before flying with the airline.
Already available at 17 other ports for First Class, 23 ports in Business Class and 19 ports for Premium Economy, Auckland’s menu is available for departures starting 30 October – the same date that the airline’s A380 comes back into rotation.
Travellers who engage a travel agent now are often seeking something more akin to an ‘incentive travel’ experience than simply an off the shelf product, says Penny Henderson of special interest travel company Pack Ya Bags.
Traditionally incentives have been the domain of corporates who set targets and then have inspiring programmes devised for the people who achieve those goals. The recipients tend to feel short changed if they feel they could have easily devised and purchased the travel products themselves.
One of the largest hotel trade expos to happen in New Zealand will take place late May, when the Marriott International Global Sales Mission is held at the Maritime Room in Auckland.
Travel retailers and brokers are welcome to attend, as are professional conference and incentive organisers, wholesalers and corporate travel agents/travel management companies.The Mission is the first time Marriott has brought its showcase to these shores and encompasses what used to be known as the Starwood Expo.
The South African visa situation has already caused leading incentive operator Dragonfly Africa to lose a big booking out of the New Zealand market, and the effects are ongoing.
Yolanda Woeke-Jacobs, director sales and marketing with Dragonfly, says the company lost a booking of 400 people through an incentive company in New Zealand because the extra cost and time involved in fronting up at an office for a visa made the trip uneconomic and impractical. The trip was worth about 10 million rand (more than NZ$1million) to the South African economy, not counting airfares.
House of Travel this month signed World Animal Protection’s elephant-friendly tourism pledge, committing not to sell, offer or promote venues or activities involving elephant rides and shows.
House of Travel marketing director Ken Freer says tourists often want to experience wild animals when on holiday, especially in places such as Asia and Africa, but sometimes don’t realise the animals can suffer hidden cruelty so they can interact with people.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has approved a resolution to improve the air travel experience for the estimated one billion people living with disabilities worldwide, during its recent 75th annual general meeting.
The most popular virtual reality travel experiences in the future are likely to be fantasy tours – rather than replication of real experiences, says neuroscientist and developer Dr Jordan Nguyen.
Designing a travel policy that allows corporate customers to feel they have a choice is among the keys to success in a travel management environment, says one of the leading travel agents in the field.