Greg Hamilton Greg Hamilton

TAANZ CEO: Time to enhance protection of funds, become high trust consumer brand

Now is the time to really drive home the value message of dealing with a Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) accredited agent – especially when it comes to the protection of their money, says the organisation’s chief executive officer Greg Hamilton.

Speaking during the CEO update immediately after TAANZ’s hybrid AGM in Auckland on Friday, Hamilton noted that bonded agents have gained a certain amount of high ground with media, politicians and the public because of the way they performed during and immediately after the pandemic.

Despite the tough times, no TAANZ members have gone to the wall or been responsible for the loss of customers’ money.

Hamilton notes that there are mixed views among the trade about the consumer protection fund (CPF) but he recommends that no steps are taken that may weaken that protection.

‘We need to rebuild and enhance our accreditation programme, create a charter, make it serious and market it – that way there is a flow on benefit to our members and they all get value from it.’

He says the body should also consider TAANZ-owned consumer insurance in the future.

‘We also need to build our relevance and sustainability with a trusted travel supplier programme.’

He adds that in the post-Covid world, people are acutely aware of terms and conditions and they want to know where their money is going.

‘That’s why we must make the transition to becoming a high trust consumer brand. TAANZ needs to be the trusted travel consumer advocate.’

Hamilton assured members that finding and developing talent was another key priority for the association – not just right now but also in the long term. ‘We have to promote the travel industry as a desirable career, not just something people should jump in and out of.’

More events

TAANZ is looking at adding more events to its calendar, in addition to relaunching the New Zealand Travel Industry awards.

CEO Greg Hamilton says, looking at other similar associations, the AGM would typically be part of a full conference with speakers and networking opportunities. He says this would not only serve as an extra revenue stream but also give the organisation a chance to ask members about what type of content they would like at the event.

Gender on agenda

Adding ‘gender neutrality’ to its constitution is one of the things on TAANZ’s to do list this year, says CEO Greg Hamilton.

‘It is very male orientated at the moment. We also want to change some words so that people can actually understand it.’

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