Out & About
With new openings in Australia and other arts of the world, Starwood Hotels and Resorts had plenty to communicate with the trade during the group’s roadshow yesterday afternoon and last night.
Marieke Mendez, director of global sales New Zealand with Starwood, says about 200 members of the trade attended over the two sessions yesterday. ‘We’ve got product managers, wholesale and retail consultants, travel management companies (TMCs) and professional conference organisers (PCOs) s we are really happy with the turn-out.’
Malaysia Airlines new retrofitted lie flat business class seats are now available on its daily services between Auckland and Kuala Lumpur. Each of the 27 seats transform into a 76-inch fully lie flat bed at the push of a button. There are three seat configurations, across six rows, within the new layout (1-2-2 or 1-2-1). All seats on the left side of the cabin are single, the middle row are two – with each direct aisle access and the right side alternate between one or two seats.
Agents on the recent Malaysia Airlines famil to Kuala Lumpur test drove the new seats and had no complaints. The consensus was there was enough privacy between the seats if you wanted to switch off; the seats reclined seamlessly and they liked the three discreet lights so no other passengers need be disturbed. A good selection of beverages was offered and everyone said the satay starters were the best.
For inflight entertainment, the latest release movies, tv series and Asian/Indian options as are available for viewing from the 16-inch touch screen. The headphones are not noise cancelling, so it’s still best to take your own if you really want total immersion.
Milena Bossa, Malaysia Airlines sales executive, took the group into the KLIA Satellite business class lounge at Kuala Lumpur airport. Overlooking the tarmac, the expansive area has a separate bar area, barista coffees, a buffet serving hot and cold meal options, prayer room, plenty of showers and a spa treatment room (charges apply).
The lounge is to undergo a complete refurbishment/upgrade before the end of the year. Full details of the layout, style and if the lounge will continue to remain open or be relocated during the refurbishment are still to come.
- Milena Bossa, Malaysia Airlines and Brad Jacobsen, CWT test drive the new business class seats on display at Malaysia Airlines business class lounge Milena Bossa, Malaysia Airlines and Brad Jacobsen, CWT test drive the new business class seats on display at Malaysia Airlines business class lounge
- The new cabin layout, 1-2-2 or 1-2-1, seating configuration for the Airbus A330 The new cabin layout, 1-2-2 or 1-2-1, seating configuration for the Airbus A330
Travel agents attending the Korea Tourism Roadshow late last week were given five key reasons why their clients should visit the destination in Visit Korea Year (which actually extends from now through 2018 in the lead up to the Winter Olympics in Peongchang).
Jang Seonyeong, assistant manager PR team with Visit Korea Year, says Korea Grand Sale is one of the major planks of the promotion. Scheduled for October this year the shopping and tourist festival provides discounts and gifts covering shopping centres, duty free shops an department stores but also special events, accommodation, transportation, food and beverage.
Other features of Visit Korea year include a K-Smile campaign (encouraging a friendly ad welcoming environment among locals), K-Travel Bus with inexpensive one night and two day tours, a K-Tour card for local transport offers, and hands free service that stores and delivers items between hotels, airports and shopping centres for travellers.
Incheon Airport also attended the roadshow and assistant manager airline marketing team Jae-Sin Park highlighted a free Korea Transit Tour programme, with trips aging from one to five hours. He says while the tours have been operating for a few years there are always new additions to the itineraries – including a recently added visit to a local fishing village.
Encourage clients to get off the beaten track and really see Switzerland. That was the message to some 100 Kiwi travel agents at the Switzerland Travel Experience in the Pullman Auckland last night.
Birgit Weingartner, marketing executive Australia & New Zealand with Switzerland Tourism says the organisation was joined by Swiss International Air Line and nine other partners –Zurich Tourism, Lucerne Tourism, Mt Titlis, Schilthorn Cableway; Gstaad Tourism; Lake Geneva Region, Basel Tourism, Swiss Travel System (rail); and Jungfrau region. ‘We want New Zealanders to take a grand tour of Switzerland and to embrace the hashtag #inlovewithswitzerland. We want them to get off the beaten track, either by self drive or by experiencing all of the scenic trains we have.’
Weingartner says Switzerland attracted some 35,000 New Zealanders over the past year and the destination is growing at a rate of 25% plus out of this market.
'Great wine, great food and great mates' was the theme of Starwood's Christmas gig in Auckland this year. Wholesale partners were hosted by Starwoods's #teamsamoa and #teamfiji at uber cool Ponsonby venue, Mr Toms.