Kim Dunwell… ‘there’s a misconception that people want everything online’ Kim Dunwell… ‘there’s a misconception that people want everything online’

Face to face key

The opening of a new travel agency in Feilding, the third in the Manawatu town, is indicative of the confidence its owner has in ‘the industry, the brand, and the local community.’ Kim Dunwell has operated helloworld Travel Palmerston North for nine years and been in the travel sector for 15.


Helloworld Feilding is set to open this week. ‘Provincial centres are losing banks and post offices all the time but they still love the face to face contact with their (local) businesses,’ says Dunwell. She adds that the booking process is someone’s lifeline of contact for his or her whole journey. ‘We are more than just agents, we can also be counsellors. There is a misconception that people want the whole travel process online and everything by email. I think that has probably run full circle and there is just too much choice. ‘People want the choice but they still want to be given good advice. They want current recommendations, but not necessarily social media type comments.’ Dunwell says agents meet and exceed expectations as a key to being in business whereas unsolicited viewpoints on the web may not be reliable or accurate. ‘We have the current information because we have hundreds of people travelling. If we get good feedback for a property in Fiji, for example, the entire office can sell into it.’ Dunwell, a former TAANZ National Travel Industry Award recipient, concedes that opening a new agency has its risks. ‘We are relying on the industry to sustain itself, and world events not to disrupt that. But the beauty of New Zealand is that travellers will reposition and change their travel plans rather than cancel all together.’