Greg Hamilton, TAANZ; Dave Coombes, Flight Centre Greg Hamilton, TAANZ; Dave Coombes, Flight Centre

Second Travel Partners Forum

A ‘charter’ or template around the protection of consumer funds and a ‘plain English’ list of frequently asked questions and answers are both possible outcomes of the second Travel Partners Forum involving The Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) and suppliers to the industry.

Greg Hamilton, chief executive officer of TAANZ, noted that at the first such meeting early this year, participants were concerned about consumer confidence around getting back on planes and travelling again.

‘A lot has changed since then – people are clearly confident about travelling, judging by the numbers.’

However, Hamilton says there are obvious challenges and risks ahead that need to be met by the industry to ensure that customers recognise the security of dealing with travel agents and TAANZ members in particular.

‘Terms and conditions have a new level of importance now, customers are looking for clarity around cancellations and asking where their money is and will they get it back.

‘Pre-Covid people didn’t care too much (about T&Cs). They do now. We need to be clear to the consumer on where responsibilities lie.’

The Wednesday meeting at Flight Centre head office in Auckland broke into two workshop groups which reported back on what they would like to see happen now.

It was generally agreed that some form of collective charter with clear transparency around client fund transitions would be beneficial for customers and add value to both the suppliers and TAANZ members.

Hamilton says a list of FAQs, potentially co-branded between suppliers and TAANZ, would give front line sellers something to work with at point of sale. ‘It is important that consultants can point consumers in the right direction and provide all the correct information they need.’

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