Sarah Hunter has been appointed general manager, GO Holidays in New Zealand. Hunter recently returned to New Zealand after nearly seven years in the UAE where she completed her MBA with Strathclyde University, before taking up a senior leadership role within dnata’s B2C Middle East and India travel business.
Reporting to head of wholesale & inbound, Cinzia Burnes, Hunter will be charged with maximising GO Holiday’s B2B relationships to position them as the wholesaler of choice for New Zealand’s retail travel industry. For Hunter, there will be a ring of familiarity to the role, having previously headed up GO Holidays and worked with the business through the mid 90’s up until 2010. Hunter says however that this is ‘very much a new chapter, as opposed to a return.’ Hunter will commence her new role on 16 July based in the Auckland offices.
Having a passion for selling travel, a commercial background and the guidance of mentors are the keys for a good start in the industry, says Tracey LeeLewis, of helloworld Waipukurau.
Lee-Lewis is a finalist in the TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards 2018 and has been in the travel industry for nine months. She says that having travelled across the world, ‘though there are still many stones unturned,’ she is passionate about making others’ dreams comes true. ‘And working as a lawyer for the 10 years prior to my entry into the travel industry has given me a good commercial understanding of how a successful business operates. Plus with the help and guidance of an inspiring mentor – the helloworld family – I have been able to hit the ground running.’ She says holidays to Australia and the South Pacific are ‘bread and butter’ business. ‘But we also have a strong cruising clientele, river cruising in particular. My involvement in the running of the business will allow my business partner (and mother, Ellen Lee) to focus on tours and escorted group travel.
Richard Birkby is joining Wanaka ski area Treble Cone as Brand Manager. An experienced marketer with 20 years’ experience working for internationally renowned brands in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, Birkby starts his new role in mid-June.
He moved to Wanaka from Sydney, where he worked for leading advertising and marketing agency HOST, nearly five years ago because he wanted to spend more time skiing. In his fiqrst year in Wanaka he commuted weekly to Auckland where he was group business director for world-class creative agency Colenso BBDO, before spending three years as head of brand and marketing at Wanaka-based Mons Royale.
Seeing brokers accepted as true professionals in the travel industry has been one of the most significant (and satisfying) developments for Dave Wallace, who retires as general manager of Travel Managers Group at the end of this year.
Two Flight Centre stalwarts are celebrating 30 years with the company next month – and though their careers within the company have gone in different directions there was an early cross over in their paths. Lynaire (Harry) Monnery is a Flight Centre Travel Broker, based in Thorndon, Wellington. (TRAVELinc Memo published her story last Friday, 11 May.) Sue Matson is national leader – retail brands with the Fight Centre Travel Group based in Wellington.
Sue Matson started with the company at what was originally called Wellington Flight Centre. ‘This was the same name as a flying school based at the airport, which was a bit of an issue when people called to ask if we could teach them to fly – but of course we could! That shop is still operating – it’s changed names and locations a few times and now sits on Willis Street.’ Matson says she was a travel consultant who ‘started knowing nothing and learnt something every day for the six years I spent on the front line.’ Matson has been with Flight Centre Travel Group since then but has had (at last count) something like 10 different jobs in the 30 years. ‘Each one of those roles has taken me out of my comfort zone and challenged my personal belief in my abilities. FCTG has had a knack at believing in me before I have believed in myself and I guess I’ve gone on to prove them right. Anything is possible when someone believes in you and that’s very rewarding.’
Matson says challenges over the years have varied depending on her role. ‘In the front line, customers are the biggest challenge and the greatest reward. Once you realise it is all about building strong and personal relationships with your customers, then you will always find success. It’s about integrity and trust… and a bit of humour.’ In support roles customers ultimately remain the focus she says. ‘However our (Flight Centre) people become the challenge and the joy. The frustration can be where people don’t see the potential in their situation or themselves but the joy and reward is when they get it – and they start to see great personal success and – wow, how they grow. Matson says the leisure travel industry will always be about making the customer experience ‘more and more fabulous – both before, during and after the trip. ‘Technology will play a massive part in bringing all those pieces together, but I feel we will move more towards intimate and rewarding one on one relationships between customers and travel experts. If you ask any customer who has relied upon the skills, knowledge and relationship with a great travel expert over a number of years they will say having this relationship is what makes it work for them.’
Two Flight Centre stalwarts are celebrating 30 years with the company next month – and though their careers within the company have gone in different directions there was an early cross over in their paths. Lynaire (Harry) Monnery is a Flight Centre travel broker, based in Thorndon, Wellington. Sue Matson is national leader – retail brands with the Fight Centre Travel Group based in Wellington.
Adam Armstrong will join Silversea Cruises as managing director Australia & New Zealand. Currently associate vice president & managing director Australia & New Zealand for Royal Caribbean, Armstrong joins Silversea at a time of growth and a period of significant investment in Australia and New Zealand for the cruise line.
Pacific Resort Hotel New Caledonia Group (PRHG) and its partner properties, Moana Sands Group and Royale Takitumu have appointed Victoria Goodwin into a sales representative role.
Goodwin will be working with PRHG’s retail partners in both New Zealand and Australia and will also be running the Pacific Pearls programme, a popular incentive scheme for travel agents selling PRHG properties.
Scenic Hotel Group has appointed Bharath Satyavolu to the newly created position of group director of commercial.
Satyavolu joins the group in its Christchurch head oce from his previous Singapore-based postings with the Oakwood Asia Group and prior to that, the Marina Mandarin Hotel Singapore where he held senior revenue
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Stage and niche supplier presentations, and another 20 suppliers in sessions for a ‘speed dating’ type format around a wing of the Trinity Wharf Hotel in Tauranga all added up to a busy two and a half days for attendees at the Travel Managers Group Conference.
Travel Managers Group has a new general manager in the hot seat, Catherine McLeod, succeeding David Wallace who announced his departure late last year.
She joins the TMG family with over 17 years’ experience in the travel industry, having started her career as a retail travel consultant for E Travel, before joining Escape Holidays and then GO Holidays McLeod has had many
The World Travellers Board is considering its future needs and ‘thinking about the next phase of development’, following the departure of chief executive officer Eden Stevenson.
Craig Corbett, chairman of World Travellers, says Stevenson has decided to make a move to Taupo and seek opportunities there. ‘Change is inevitable and Eden has left the company in good shape,’ adds Corbett.
With development in full swing, Sudima Christchurch City now has a new hotel manager to lead the charge – Maree Welgus.
Welgus is currently executive assistant manager for Sudima Lake Rotorua, and is an experienced industry professional.
Having an aviation buff as a husband has led Tauranga based travel broker Melanie Salisbury to establish an innovative and successful niche in her business.
Having started with Frontier Travel (later acquired by Travel Managers Group) 12 years ago, Salisbury recalls looking for ideas when the company launched a new website.
Becoming a broker after a number of years away from retailing has been made easier by the availability of new technology, according to a broker who returned to the ‘front-line’ just over a year ago.
Mark Hutchinson joined NZ Travel Brokers about a year ago.
Although his background does include considerable retail and wholesale experience, he was on the supplier side of the industry (including 15 years at Air Tahiti Nui) before taking the broker plunge.
Hamilton-based Sarah Weaver had only been a broker with Travel Managers Group (TMG) for seven months when she won the group’s Marketing Achievement Award last year and she says communication and engagement with customers are key to success.
‘In the early couple of months, while building my client base, I had the time to set up my Facebook business page and put a lot of thought into how I wanted it to look; learnt a lot about good content and how to get engagement and reach to make my posts seen, when to post and who
Thai Airways New Zealand recently appointed Nigel Taylor sales manager, New Zealand. He has extensive Industry experience and relationships through roles in fares and ticketing, GSA and airlines as well as more recently in Global Distribution Systems (GDS) with Sabre Travel Network.
‘Thai Airways is committed to the New Zealand market and with the appointment of Nigel Taylor to our team we look forward to working closely with our trade partners,’ says Khun Karun Sirarojanakul, general manager New Zealand.
Wendy Wu, a specialist in Asia travel, has promoted Paul Dymond to managing director of its New Zealand operations.
The announcement was made at the company’s 2017 Global Conference in Delhi recently, where Dymond was highly commended for his achievements and impressive sales performance within New Zealand.
Dymond is promoted from his role as general manager, a position he has held for the last two years and is tasked with leading the New Zealand arm of the business through its continued stages of digital transformation
Driving the cruise strategy for the House of Travel Group, including retail and digital channels, is a key responsibility of Jeff Leckey in his new role.
As reported in a One Minute Memo yesterday, Leckey is now general manager cruise for the House of Travel Group.
He will work closely with cruise line partners and with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) with a goal to growing the New Zealand cruise market. Increasing the network of HOT cruise consultants around New
Brooke Serene, the boutique hotel management group, has promoted Georgina Torrington director of sales and marketing.
Previously marketing manager for the company, Torrington will provide the strategic direction of marketing, media, sponsorship and sales initiatives for the group as well as look after Christchurch and Canterbury based clientele.
Meantime, Simone de Jong has been named business development manager and will look after relationships with travel agents, wholesalers and inbound tour operators.
The travel industry will be saying a fond ‘Bon Voyage’ to an iconic member of the travel industry later next month.
Betty Wakelin, affectionately known as ‘Mrs Travel Te Awamutu’, is retiring.
It won’t be easy for her to step away from the desk as she is passionate about travel, and loves her clients. Leaving will be hard; retirement has never been a word that she has embraced and Wakelin is still recognised as a
After 21 years on the go, colleagues, friends and industry partners said goodbye to Adventure World’s general manager Dave Nicholson last night, as he plans to tackle new adventures.
A well-known leader in the New Zealand travel industry, Nicholson has flown the Adventure World flag at countless industry functions and agency famils.
He plans to take a year out to travel and spend quality time with his family.
Exotic Holidays has a new recruit in its operations team Dhan Dewage has joined as a team leader.
Originally from Sri Lanka he graduated in Tourism and Travel Management and has over five years of experience working with Total Holiday Options and Qatar Airways.
Kelly Eichholtz is now area director of sales and marketing New Zealand with IHG New Zealand.
Based at Crowne Plaza Auckland, Eichholtz is responsible for building and developing InterContinental Hotel Group’s (IHG) New Zealand-based sales, marketing and revenue teams.
Ken Orr is taking the helm of New Zealand’s largest hotel, Grand Millennium Auckland. The newly appointed general manager of the hotel has 21 years’ experience with Millennium Hotels and Resorts, including the last nine as GM of Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay.
Sri Lankan destination management company (DMC) Tour Blue is now represented in New Zealand.
Mark Snoxell, of Exposure Down Under, says Tour Blue specialises in both Sri Lanka and the Maldives, concentrating on tailor-made itineraries for families and groups as well as some incentive travel work.
‘Tour Blue works closely with Asia Leisure – a hotel group we also represent here.’ Snoxell says it is advantageous for travel agents to use a DMC in Sri Lanka. ‘There is so much more to be added on if you work with the local experts. It is easy for them to access art, culture, surfing, academics, tea plantations and much more.’
The Tourism Export Council (TEC) Board has appointed Judy Chen to the role of chief executive. Chen moves to TECNZ from the position of director of sales and marketing with the Hotel Grand Chancellor group. Her hotel industry experience will add a new dimension to the evolution of the Tourism Export Council, says outgoing TECNZ chairman Martin Horgan.
Airline Marketing New Zealand has appointed Danielle Caltaux as the dedicated account manager for Air France KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in New Zealand. Caltaux will be responsible for trade partnerships and relationships in the New Zealand market. Her previous position was Business Development Manager for Excite Holidays.
Ken Freer, well known for his previous roles with House of Travel and Tourism Fiji among others, has taken up a fixed contract at Christchurch International Airport. He will lead the airport’s support of Alipay across the South Island and the development of new travel and retail platforms through Alibaba. This follows Christchurch Airport’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Alibaba to connect small and regional New Zealand businesses with Chinese visitors before, during and after their visit.
Ollie Joblin is the new business development manager NZ for both Tucan Travel and Sundowners Overland.
Joblin was previously a travel consultant with Flight Centre and is extensively travelled through Tucan’s ‘territory’ of South America and also in Russia, Mongolia and China – useful when promoting Sundowners’ product such as the trans-Siberian, Vodka Train and Silk Rd.
Todd Barry, general manager of Tucan Travel says New Zealand is a growing market for Tucan and credits at least partially the relatively new Air New Zealand flights into Buenos Aires and Houston – gateways for South America and Central America.
‘We are known as South American experts but we also do tours in North America, Asia, Africa and Europe.’
Adrian Turner is the new group general manager with New Zealand accommodation group, Quest Apartment Hotels. Quest Apartment Hotels New Zealand chief executive officer, Stephen Mansfield, says the new position was created to manage future growth. The group has plans to open up to 10 new properties in New Zealand over the next 24 months.
The government needs to ‘lower its sights’ to make it easier for skilled international travel agents to work in New Zealand, says Andrew Olsen, chief executive of the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ).
Olsen says that try as the industry might, it cannot convince the government that there is a skill shortage in the industry.
‘Visas should be made easier to obtain in this area,’ he says.
Ewan Cao is the new marketing manager for the New Zealand region with Tourism Malaysia.
Cao has experience across tourism and media sectors, most recently with NZME and prior to that in the media division of Tourism New Zealand. A specialist in connecting Asian audiences with New Zealand experiences, he says he is looking forward to working the reverse of this in connecting Kiwis
Vanessa Tjemplon has joined Aircalin as sales executive New Zealand following a company restructure in the wake of Angela Hallett’s departure.
Tjemplon, who will be based in Auckland, has more than 14 years of industry knowledge and experience as well as a deep understanding of New Caledonia and Aircalin’s services.
Meanwhile, Chris Thistlethwaite will assume the role of country manager for New Zealand (in addition to Australia). Thistlethwaite, who has 17 years of experience in the travel industry in sales and management, will continue to manage
Combining traditional service with modern marketing and business is one of the keys to operating a successful independent travel agency, according to an agent who has managed to sustain that status for more than 21 years.
Edith Carpenter, managing director of Planet Earth Travel in Auckland, says having a distinct niche market (in her case the local Filipino community) is another major aspect to longevity as an independent.
By Lisa Bradley
The World Journeys team is living proof enforced change – and a bit of bottle – can lead to success that ultimately feels made to measure.
The company was created by a group of travel colleagues who broke away from Adventure World when the organisation was taken over by Australian corporate giant NMRA in 2007. A decade on, World Journeys is going strong.
But while the takeover provided the impetus for change, the World Journey directors say standing true to the company’s core principle of offering boutique experiences based on specialist knowledge is what has helped it clock up 10
By Julie Cleaver
After 51 years in the travel industry, Donald Foley has decided to end his professional journey and begin a personal one.
Foley, who is currently working as a broker alongside Janet Lewisham, has bought a caravan in Australia and is looking forward to ‘hanging loose’ for six months with his partner.
‘This year my wife Christine and I will travel along the coast of Australia. We can’t wait to be beach bums,’ says Foley while relaxing in his St Heliers home.
Emprendedor, intraprendente, giat... in any language, enterprising is the word to use when describing Kiwi Scott Cardwell’s bid to tear down the language barrier for travellers.
The 28 year old is developing a virtual reality, language-learning app called ImmerseMe, which has caught the eye of NZ Travel Brokers.
Dunedinite Cardwell recently returned from two months of travelling around 10 countries in Europe, Japan, China and Indonesia, where he and videographer Tim Armstrong filmed scenarios such as ordering off a menu for
India, connecting New Zealand and Australia’s capital cities, commemorative events and a whole lot of cake. Lisa Bradley reports on the rise of Simon Turcotte’s Singapore Airlines career.
On 21 September in Wellington this year the buzz was not coming from the Beehive but from the city’s airport where hundreds had gathered to witness the capital’s first long-haul flight.
After 24 years in the travel industry, industry stalwart Alka Thapar is pulling up anchor and heading to greener pastures. Where this maybe, she isn’t really sure, but she says it’s time for a break.
For the past two years, Thapar has been business development manager for Princess Cruises. In her varied industry roles, she has made many great friends and some of them were on the Emerald Princess yesterday to say good-bye.
‘I am sad to go – but it is time. It has been a humbling experience to be able to work with such great people in this industry and hugs all round. The varied personalities I have met during my time have certainly kept things interesting and never boring.’
True retail success can be found in returning customers and happy staff – just ask Chris Harrop, whose people-first attitude is winning him business and the respect of the industry. By Lisa Bradley
Chris Harrop is an agent of the people – he’s the man customers keep returning to for their travel needs and the employer staff very rarely leave.
Harrop is also a man with a ready smile who signs off an email with a cheery ‘toodle pip’. And a travel agent so well liked by his peers he received a standing ovation when he won the TAANZ Best Travel Agency Manager Retail Award in 2014.