Mike Hogan, right, interviews Jamie Gray and Keith Sumner from Gilpin Travel on The Travel Guys Mike Hogan, right, interviews Jamie Gray and Keith Sumner from Gilpin Travel on The Travel Guys

Corporate agent predicts more demand for biz class

Having people deprived of leisure travel for a couple of years, combined with the changing needs of corporates, is likely to lead to increased demand for comfort in the air, says Keith Sumner, managing director of Gilpin Travel.

‘Some of my golf mates, for example, have had two of their golden years of travel stolen from them. A lot of people, like them, will want to travel in comfort when they can.’

Sumner and colleague Jamie Gray, sales manager at Gilpin Travel, appeared on The Travel Guys TV show with presenter Mike Hogan recently and discussed ongoing challenges, trends and predictions in the business travel sphere.

Sumner says a lot of companies are allowing their travellers an extra level of comfort now. ‘I see it as more (demand) not less and there is less capacity. So we’ve got to juggle, know how the system works and what your customers want.’

He says business travel is more complex now than it used to be.

‘Travellers going for business reasons want to work and travel at the same time. It’s about connectivity, fast internet, lounge access and seamless travel through the airport. Time is valuable, so what we (corporate agents) are often tasked with is making it quick and painless.

Gray says that while domestic hotel availability has definitely been changed by the need for MIQ facilities, new inventory has helped the situation in Auckland.

‘There are hardly any hotels out by the airport now but at least six new hotels have come on board in Auckland and they tend to be of the four and a half and five star quality. Hotel Britomart, for example, is definitely one worth checking.

‘In Christchurch and Wellington availability is not too bad because we don’t have international visitors, but in Hamilton, MIQ has made it harder to find accommodation.’

Sumner says a particular ‘squeeze point’ now is rental cars. ‘Anecdotal feedback from our consultants is that you can’t get a rental car for the late arriving flights from Australia into Wellington at the moment. One way rentals are challenging too because of the relocation of the vehicle. Even the size of the fleets that rental cars are maintaining are much reduced and there’s not a lot of choice.’

Tonight’s episode will have a Cook Islands focus. Anyone interested in appearing on the show can contact Mike Hogan at mike@hoganreps.co.nz. For the full Gilpin Travel interview, click here.

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