Hunter’s comments come after the company’s 2023 gala awards held at JW Marriott Auckland, an evening of camaraderie and recognition, as the Helloworld Travel family gathered to acknowledge the achievements of the past year.
‘It was our first award ceremony for four years and at one stage I asked anyone who had joined since the borders reopened to stand up. It really highlighted how much new talent we have – even though in the industry we often talk about how hard it is to find staff.’
One of the awards presented was Rookie of the Year, achieved by Rachel Mahar of Helloworld Rotorua. She also gained a place in the company’s Diamond category.
‘We had a lot of fantastic perfromances like that,’ says Hunter. ‘So it is important to recognise that there is young talent we can get into this industry – they’re all digital natives and they learn quickly.’
At the same time, Hunter says it is important to celebrate those people who are established in the industry and have survived the last few years.
Saturday’s awards event brought together Helloworld’s retail store owners, managers and staff along with key suppliers and the team from the Helloworld support office to reflect on the year that concluded on 30 June.
Standout achievers of the night included Caraline Hawken from Helloworld Cambridge, who clinched the title of Top Travel Professional, a nod to her expertise and dedication in the field.
Helloworld Strandon secured the Overall Outstanding Store Performance award, while Helloworld Rototuna’s focus on Preferred Partners earned them a special award. Helloworld Thames demonstrated top productivity, earning them recognition in their category. The commitment to the Helloworld brand was highlighted by Helloworld Rotorua, named the Brand Champion.
'Bouyed by demand'
Helloworld is poised to embrace ongoing growth, buoyed by the robust demand the company is experiencing, New Zealand GM Chris Hunter said at the awards ceremony.
‘While some variability in pricing might be expected, the strong demand signals a positive trajectory for the industry.
‘To respond to this demand, the increasing capacity that we are now seeing is eagerly welcomed,’ Hunter adds. ‘It’s essential we stand ready to support the growing appetite for travel experiences among our customers.
‘Looking ahead we are excited about expanding our network even further. We recognise the potential in new business ownership and are actively seeking opportunities where individuals can have 100% ownership.’
A highlight of the night was the recognition of Greig Lysaght, an industry veteran of over 45 years.
His Outstanding Contribution to the Brand award was accompanied by praise from Helloworld GM Chris Hunter.
He highlighted Lysaght’s enduring loyalty, customer dedication, and expertise from his early days at Atlantic and Pacific Travel to Holiday Shoppe, Harvey World Travel, and now Helloworld Travel Rotorua.