Hot Off The Press

‘Bleisure’ big potential for travel industry

Friday, 30 October 2015 15:01

The growing number of business travellers who extend their trips for some rest and relaxation are providing opportunities for both corporate and leisure travel agents, according to Tracy Greer, regional manager Australasia for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).

Greer, who is in New Zealand now, says the trend known as bleisure also provides potential for suppliers, such as tour operators and cruise companies, who could be accessing these people in their down time.

‘It is certainly an increasing trend in the corporate travel word. Employers are more flexible these days. Especially if a traveller has business at the end of the week and employer is likely to say ‘stay there over the weekend if you like, as long as you are back at work on Monday’.

‘There is an opportunity for the leisure side of travel to think more about the business traveller. These people are often wondering what to do if they only have one or two days in a destination (after completing their work commitments).’

ACTE hosted a networking function at the refurbished Bellini Bar, Hilton Auckland last night and Greer says the New Zealand industry can expect to see and hear more from the association. It already has two New Zealanders on the Australasian regional council (Andrew Dale, APX; and Aileen London, Oracle) but only a handful of New Zealand based members, compared with 500 members in Australia.

‘We are focused on education aimed at promoting the corporate travel industry. We have supplier members such as travel management companies, airlines, GDS, and accommodation providers as well as buyer members from small to medium enterprises through to the large buyers such as telecommunication, IT, banks and financial companies, large retailers and industrial companies – really anyone with a dedicated travel programme.’

The Travel Brokers awards - the winners are....

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 15:00

Growth and introducing a new way of thinking were the key messages from The Travel Brokers (TTB) conference, in the Gold Coast this weekend, says general manager, Brooke Jamieson.

‘We had some great speakers and we plan to build on and take advantage of the knowledge they shared,’ he says.

‘Brokers, Denise Fowler and Edie Swney spoke about their success story, which was inspirational. Keynote speaker, Karen Phillips, author, brand marketer, and successful businessperson, inspired the team with her insightful take on how brokers can grow their ‘empires’ by making a few changes.

‘Without sharing too much, I can confirm that we have developed a new website which will provide greater flexibility and value to our brokers and their customers,’ says Jamieson.

‘It will make it easier for customers to find our brokers and offer more options to customers. We will also be rolling out some new marketing tools and enhancing our internal systems aimed at better supporting the brokers, improving brokers’ productivity and helping them achieve their goals.’

During conference the brokers took part in supplier booth sessions; heard business updates from Brooke Jamieson, TTB and Neil Gestro from Stella; dined poolside at the Sofitel Gold Coast; attended an offsite dinner at Helm Bar & Bistro; had an early start Sunday morning to watch the All Blacks thrash France and rounded off with an awards gala dinner at SkyPoint.

Award winners

Best supplier representative award, as voted by the brokers - GO Holidays;

Best overall Supplier – GO Holidays

Best unsung hero – Clare Baker, TTB head office;

Best marketer of the year, for their back of the bus campaign - Kylie Davis- Strangwick and Di Cochrane, from Hamilton;

Best new broker, multi (joined Jan 2015) - Kylie Davis-Strangwick and Di Cochrane, from Hamilton;

Best new broker individual - Chris Kavanagh;

Broker with the greatest growth –

Denise Fowler (won tickets on CX to any Asian destination and $2000 Peregrine voucher);

Top multi brokerage – Mark Smith; (return tickets on SQ and a seven night Pacific Eden P&O Cruise from Singapore to Thailand and Cambodia)

Top individual brokerage – Jacqui Currall (tickets on NZ to Houston and $1500 travelCube accommodation).

Eighteen High Flyers received $150 in JR Duty Free vouchers: Mark Smith, Jacqui Currall, Vesna Fahn, Andrew Welch, Denise Fowler, Tanya Franklin, Janine Mallon, John Campbell, Pam Hardley, Diane Grigg, Jane Cockburn, and Joanne Devereux, Andrew Prins, Carole Garnham, Kylie Ward, Suzanne Mueller, Karen Stanbury, Nicola Monteith.

Selling ancillaries - 'NDC will help agents'

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 12:35

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the results of a joint study with select members of the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance ( WTAAA). Travel agents look forward to the opportunities New Distribution Capability (NDC) will bring and seek more information about the initiative.

NDC is a travel industry-supported program launched by IATA. Its goal is the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard that is intended to enhance communications between airlines and travel agents.

IATA partnered with associations representing travel agencies based in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA (1) that are members of WTAAA. The study was conducted by Atmosphere Research Group and T2 Impact. It included 22 qualitative interviews with travel agents around the world and surveys from approximately 1,000 agents.

The study shows that:
• On average 76% of travel agencies book airline ancillary products and services with most using airline websites to do so
• Agents are concerned about the loss of productivity associated with moving back and forth between their standard screen displays and airline websites in order to book ancillary options
• Agents recognise that airline websites offer the most complete selection of airline product and service options and they believe they are at a competitive disadvantage owing to this disparity
• A majority of agents believe NDC can help them be more competitive and customer-focused and will make selling airline ancillary products more efficient
• Travel agents expect to be compensated for selling ancillary products and services

'The study bears out that the travel agent channel as currently situated is not able to efficiently meet all the needs of air travelers. NDC will address this gap by enabling efficient access to content that currently is available only on airline websites,' says Aleks Popovich, IATA senior VP Financial and Distribution Services.
'The NDC discussion has been around the global travel industry for many years. This study has brought to light some important and interesting insights from the travel agency perspective and is welcomed by those agency associations that have been involved,' says Jayson Westbury, CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel agents and spokesperson for the participating agency associations.

Other findings in the study:
• The development of branded fares, sometimes referred to as fare families, has created some confusion in the travel agency community. Around one in four travel agencies are uncertain whether they book fare families or branded fares
• A plurality of agents (43%) take a deliberately slow pace in adopting new technology
• Agencies will likely rely on GDSs most for support in adopting NDC

2016 JAWS dates revealed

Tuesday, 06 October 2015 08:59

Jacqui Brook from Delta Air Lines will be coordinating JAWS 2016 and asks agents to save these dates in their diaries. Queenstown and Auckland will not be on the circuit in favour of a slightly shortened JAWS roadshow that focuses on the main regional centres.
More details on venues and prizes will be made available shortly.
Dates are as followed: Dunedin - 29 February; Christchurch - 1 March; Nelson – 2 March; Whangarei – 8 March; Napier – 14 March; Wellington – 15 March; Palmerston North – 16 March; New Plymouth – 17 March; Tauranga – 22 March; Hamilton – 23 March.

NZ launches Airpoints™ for Business

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 12:25

Air New Zealand's new Airpoints™ for Business will reward New Zealand businesses with bonus Airpoints Dollars™ when the business owner or their employees travel on eligible flights with Air New Zealand for work.

The programme enables small to medium sized businesses to earn additional Airpoints at a rate of 20 percent of the personal Airpoints Dollar earn rate. The business earning rate does not affect the individual’s persona Airpoints Dollar or Status Point earn.

There is no change to the way customers make a booking with their travel agent. A traveller’s personal Airpoints membership number is still required to be entered into the booking, travel consultants are not required to add any additional detail. For bookings made via a Travel Agency (GDS) the traveller will need to indicate this booking as ‘business’ by signing into Air New Zealand and editing this under ‘Manage my bookings’.

Airpoints for Business members will also be able to earn Airpoints Dollars on their business spending at a range of partners such as Westpac, Budget, Avis, Umbrellar, and our Fly Buys partners Z and Mitre 10. Details on what a customer can earn and how to enable the Airpoints Dollar™ accrual to filter to the business Airpoints account are detailed on the Air New Zealand website. For Avis and Budget bookings a promotion code* needs to be entered at the time of booking the rental car to enable the accrual to be allocated to the Airpoints for Business account.

As part of an introductory offer, Air New Zealand is offering to triple a business’s travel earnings, when employees’ book and travel on eligible flights between 16 September and 31 December 2015. Plus all businesses who join the programme before 16 October 2015 will be in to win a mentorship with one of New Zealand’s top business leaders. Julie Christie, Trelise Cooper, Sir George Fistonich and Phillip Poole.
Airpoints for Business is available to New Zealand registered businesses with up to 20 New Zealand based employees able to be registered to the account.

For businesses who would like to sign up to Airpoints™ for Business they will not be able to use UATP Travelcard and therefore be giving up those benefits. Airpoints™ for Business cards will not be issued. Retrospective claims for business are processed like personal retrospective claims via the Air New Zealand website.

For more information on the Airpoints for Business programme visit and see Airpoints™ for Business

Air New Zealand will continue to run the Above & Beyond rewards programme tailored for larger spending businesses using UATP Travelcard as the form of payment which has a minimum threshold of $20,000 pa on air travel. Bookings made via UATP Travelcard are not eligible for Airpoints™ for Business accrual.

*AVIS Promotion Code: MPIA002
*Budget Promotion Code: MPIZ002

Airpoints for Business Terms and Conditions apply. FAQ’s can be found here

Business as usual in Bangkok

Monday, 31 August 2015 18:52

Corporate and incentive travel managers travelling on a famil to Thailand over the last few days have been reassured that it is ‘business as usual’ in Bangkok following the Erawan Shrine bombing near Central World two weeks ago.

Bert Chamrernnusit, country manager Pacific World DMC, says although there were ‘a lot of questions following the incident on 17 August, we have had no cancellations from New Zealand or Australia. We had two programmes in September cancel from other markets but after seeing the stepping up of security precautions in Bangkok, one of the cancelled groups re-booked for November.’

The Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau have said that the country is still on track to reach its 28.8 million visitors target by the end of the year, says Chamrernnusit.

Famil host Starwood Hotels & Resorts has had no cancellations from Australia or New Zealand since the August bombing.

‘I actually had an enquiry for Phuket two days later,’ says Marieke Mendez, Auckland-based director global sales for Starwood.

The famil group spent three nights in Bangkok and two nights in Koh Samui.

Thailand representation to change in New Zealand

Monday, 31 August 2015 18:49

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will no longer be represented by Francis Travel Marketing, effective 30 September 2015. In a communication to the travel industry yesterday the authority advised that it will soon announce its new representative in New Zealand.

Kiwi fans get first tickets to 2016 Sydney Sevens

Tuesday, 18 August 2015 12:05

New Zealand rugby fans will have the chance to get in early and book tickets to the 2016 Sydney Sevens, with travel packages going on sale tomorrow through Flight Centre, House of Travel, GO Holidays, Experience Group and Williment Travel.

The inaugural Sydney Sevens event will take place on 6 – 7 February 2016 at Allianz Stadium as part of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird was joined by Australian Sevens players Tom Cusack and Con Foley for the announcement today at SKYCITY Convention Centre as part of the MP’s first official visit as Premier to New Zealand.

New Caledonia launches 'Hello Neighbour'

Tuesday, 18 August 2015 01:04

Following last year’s spike in Kiwi visitors, New Caledonia Tourism (NCTPS) is endeavouring to keep the momentum going with the launch of its latest campaign, 'Hello Neighbour'.  The campaign will have two phases, the first of which will run until 25 September 2015 with phase two commencing in November 2015.

The 'Hello Neighbour' overall concept was founded around the ongoing debate that New Zealanders are becoming disconnected from their neighbours, according to a recent survey by the 2015 Sovereign Wellbeing Index that found only 30% of Kiwis feel connected to their local communities.

'After hearing about this long-term trend it made us think, if we don’t know the people living right next door to us, how well do we know the people on the next island?' asks NCTPS’s sales and marketing director, Caroline Brunel.

New Caledonia, bat less than a three hour flight away, is setting out to bridge this gap, showcasing the country as a holiday with a difference and without the distance.

Developed and implemented by New Caledonia’s New Zealand representative and marketing agency, GTI Tourism and integrated creative agency, PLAY, phase one of the campaign will include elements such as a series of new videos, a new-look website and outdoor advertising.

Head of strategy at PLAY, Tom Sanders says New Caledonia is the neighbour we need to get to know better by showcasing the diverse range of experiences available in a country that’s actually closer to Australia and New Zealand than they are to each other.

'New Caledonia is the neighbour we know nothing about, which is a real tragedy because it’s an amazing holiday destination thanks to its combination of unique Melanesian history, exotic South Pacific charm and cosmopolitan French chic,' says Sanders.

Phase one will also include a competition giving consumers the opportunity to win the ultimate dinner, set in one of five locations within New Caledonia, including the Isle of Pines, the North and the Loyalty Islands.

The campaign will primarily target 25 to 35 and 55+ year old independent and active couples looking to discover cultural experiences and soft adventure when on holiday.