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AccorHotels hearts Fijian kids!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 15:45

Fiji’s first mobile clinic dedicated to screening children for rheumatic heart disease (RHD) opened this month, thanks to AccorHotels and charity Cure Kids.

AccorHotels has raised more than $2 million for Cure Kids-led child health initiatives in Fiji over 10 years.

Most of these funds have been raised by AccorHotels Fiji, Australia and New Zealand staff, who have competed in the bi-annual AccorHotels Race to Survive for Cure Kids Fiji.

In the first four days of the clinic opening at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on 11 January, more than 400 children from Fijian communities were screened for RHD as part of an ongoing programme assessing the feasibility of a RHD screening system.

‘Coombsie’ succeeds Grieve

Monday, 18 January 2016 18:17

David Coombes is Flight Centre (NZ) Ltd’s new managing director.

Coombes, who has been with the company for 15 years, previously spent almost three years in New Zealand between 2011 and 2013 as general manager product. He returns to the business today ready to take the pilot’s seat and will succeed Chris Greive, who announced his departure late last year. 

‘Coombsie’, as he is affectionately known, started his career with Flight Centre Travel Group more than 15 years ago as a travel consultant in Brisbane, Australia. He’s since risen through the ranks to his most recent position as senior vice president product in the United States.

Coombes has led multiple teams to global recognition at the FCTG Global Gathering, achieved record business results in NZ and the USA and was the recipient of the FCNZ Directors Award for 2013/2014.

Greive will officially finish at the end of February 2016 after almost two years as managing director. Greive has been with FCTG for more than 30 years, having previously led the New Zealand business from 1990 to 2004. Although Greive officially steps down as managing director he will continue an active involvement with the company in an advisory capacity.

David Coombes

Quick uptake fills Fiji mega-famil

Friday, 18 December 2015 09:53

Fiji’s 2016 mega-famil is fully subscribed with about 50 more applicants than can be catered for – proving the ongoing trade interest in the destination, says Tourism Fiji’s NZ regional director Wayne Deed.
‘We had 120 applicants for 70 spots on the six itineraries and basically that happened in a week and a half from when we started advertising.’
Deed says the week long itineraries start on 27 February and on 5 March. They come together for an amazing race and beach party / prize giving in Denarau.
‘We really didn’t need to do a lot of advertising or persuading – we basically went out in the One Minute Memo and put out an electronic direct mail to our Matai database and had a little bit of editorial elsewhere.
‘This proves there is continuing interest in the new products and experiences we are showcasing on these itineraries.’
Deed says the itineraries cover adventure, the Mamanuca Islands, cruise, the Yasawa Islands, Coral Coast, and the north of Fiji.
Wedding show
Meantime the consumer and trade Wedding Show taking place at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort on the Coral Coast, 19 and 20 March, is gaining momentum in the New Zealand market.
‘We will be taking a group of niche wedding agents up for that,’ says Deed. ‘There has also been interest from consumers and some New Zealand retailers are working on packages so their customer groups can attend the show.’

Alliances foundation for growth

Monday, 14 December 2015 12:23

Air New Zealand’s Air China alliance will allow the airline to grow its China business by 25%, according to Stephen Jones, chief strategy network and alliance, Air New Zealand. Speaking at Friday’s gala dinner celebrating the arrival of the inaugural Air China flight on Thursday evening, Jones said alliances have been the foundation for Air New Zealand’s growth.

‘China is our second largest inbound market and this alliance will allow us to grow out China business by 25%,’ he said. ‘New Zealand had 335,000 Chinese visitors last year, up from 230,000 the year previous – up 30% year on year.

‘With growth comes opportunity, and responsibility to manage the growth sustainably.’

Flight CA783 was greeted on Thursday evening by Paula Bennett, New Zealand Associate Tourism Minister, Len Brown Mayor of Auckland, Qu Guangzhou Charge d’ Affairs Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in New Zealand, Adrian Littlewood chief executive of Auckland Airport, Rui Jie Air China Australia and New Zealand general manager, and Stephen Jones Air New Zealand chief strategy networks and alliances officer.

Under the alliance, Air China operates a daily direct A330-200 service between Auckland and Beijing and Air New Zealand continues to operate daily B787-9 Dreamliner services between Auckland and Shanghai.

The alliance also allows Air New Zealand to tap into 11 codeshare destinations within China as well as offering Air China passengers access to Air New Zealand’s network including domestic New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands and South America.




‘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