Hot Topics

Expedia TAAP rolls out dynamic commission in New Zealand

Thursday, 08 February 2018 04:47

Expedia TAAP has launched a revenue-sharing model in New Zealand, meaning that agents here can earn varying levels of commission depending on which hotels they book.

Stu Udy, manager travel agent distribution Asia Pacific at Expedia, says the dynamic commission is a slight shift in the way the company pays commission to travel agents, reflecting the ever-changing world of travel distribution.

Eclipse Travel looks to big year with NZ trade

Tuesday, 06 February 2018 21:06

Eclipse Travel has further strengthened its Christchurch based New Zealand operations and will be rolling a series of trade activities on this side of the Tasman in the coming months.

The company, which specialises in travel to remote and adventurous destinations, marks the fifth year of its Sydney operation this month and says the establishment of its Christchurch office last year was a result of continued strong growth.

Youth market, STA Travel: both on a growth curve

Thursday, 01 February 2018 04:03

STA Travel plans to open at least two more stores in New Zealand this year and the footprint will grow further in 2019 and beyond.

Country manager Sarah Bedford says the company (started in 1979) currently has 17 retail outlets around New Zealand (over half in mall locations) and is benefiting by concentrating on its core markets – ‘students, young people and the young at heart’.

B:Hive move expands honey pot for successful broker

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 19:54

A move out of home and into highly automated offices, plus more formal working arrangements signal the next step for a successful broker company based in North Shore, Auckland.

Manase Travel Studio moved into new premises at B:Hive, Smale’s Farm in Takapuna late last year and co-director Peter Manase says the shift reflects growing business success for the brokerage – particularly in the corporate sector.

Credit card compliance – the IATA heat is on

Thursday, 25 January 2018 20:11

The heat has been turned up on any travel agents who have not ensured they comply with a global security standard to protect confidential payment information against theft.

IATA has set a deadline of 1 March for accredited agents to achieve the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

‘Leisurely actives’ give company running start

Monday, 22 January 2018 20:51

A Walker’s World / Cycling Europe director Jill Grant says this year has seen the busiest January for the company in memory.

While there a number of possible reasons, one of the most surprising is a slight loss of business confidence since the change of government.

‘During the last recession, we experienced good growth as many clients saw it as an opportune time to travel, seeing as there was a downturn in business at home.’

The year ahead...readers share thoughts

Monday, 18 December 2017 19:25

To say 2017 has been ‘interesting’ is an understatement. But what is the travel industry expecting for the year ahead…?

TRAVELinc Memo reached out to a few readers and here are some responses we got back. Remember, we are always interested in hearing from you so send us your thoughts, comments and news.

Rise of the ‘minimoon’ – Kiwi newlyweds opt for shorter escapes

Monday, 11 December 2017 20:18

Newlyweds are opting more and more for shorter honeymoons or ‘minimoons’, as extended holidays are too expensive and they use up too much leave in the lead up to the event.
Anita Gatley, honeymoon and destination wedding travel specialist, says this is accentuated by the high cost of Kiwi weddings and also because of the timing of the wedding season in New Zealand.
‘From my observations couples are going for shorter domestic or South Pacific breaks immediately after the wedding,’ she says.

All Blacks Tours names Rugby World Cup 2019 sub-agents

Thursday, 07 December 2017 22:25

All Blacks Tours, New Zealand’s exclusive Official Travel Agent (OTA) for the Rugby World Cup 2019, Japan, has appointed four sub-agents for the tournament- Fortis Travel Group, Holland, Clarke & Beatson, BCD Travel and JTB.

The appointments follow a competitive application process where agents were assessed on a number of criteria.

As sub-agents of All Blacks Tours for RWC 2019, the four companies have the ability to create, market and sell official Rugby World CupTM packages within World RugbyTM guidelines.

‘Room for more players,’ says NZ Travel Brokers

Monday, 27 November 2017 18:01

The emergence of new broker brands in New Zealand as well as major changes among some of the key players will lead to ‘interesting times’ over the next few years, the NZ Travel Brokers Conference heard over the weekend.

‘We will see how it plays out,’ says Steve Lee, director of NZ Travel Brokers.

‘But we will stick to our knitting and think we will be ok.’

TravelAdvocates launches with Southcombe at helm

Friday, 24 November 2017 00:09

New broker channel brand named TravelAdvocates has been officially launched in New Zealand.

Headed up by Mike Southcombe, who has a long history in this space having previously established a successful broker business. Southcombe had 11 years at the helm of Travel Managers Group NZ.

Travel agents trendy again

Monday, 30 October 2017 22:33

It’s becoming cool to have a travel agent again, says helloworld Travel chief executive officer and managing director Andrew Burnes.

‘There is widespread recognition among people now that agents are adding to the equation and that having a good travel agent among the professionals in your world is beneficial,’ Burnes said in an address to the helloworld Frontliners’ Conference at Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau over the weekend.

‘We all know there used to be a lot of talk about the death of travel agents. The question was ‘doesn’t everyone book online now?’ We’re just not having those conversations anymore.’

‘Sick and tired’ of drawn out trans-Tasman travel

Thursday, 19 October 2017 22:27

The chief executive of Australia’s Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) ‘is sick and tired’ of how complex and drawn out travelling trans Tasman is.
‘We should have managed this donkey ages ago,’ Margy Osmond told an audience at the 2017 New Zealand Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit in Auckland this week.
She says recent reports and sources are suggesting a pre-clearance and on-demand model, something TTF feels could make a big difference.

Emirates drops two flights

Thursday, 12 October 2017 03:47

From March 2018, Emirates will stop flying from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland and instead focus on its non-stop Auckland-Dubai service. 

Emirates will retain its existing daily A380 flights from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney, and the airline is also evaluating potential new direct services between New Zealand and Dubai.

At the same time, to provide greater choice across the Tasman, Qantas will increase the frequency of its services between the two countries, adding seven new return

Conradie aiming to further Excite NZ trade

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 19:53

Excite has a fresh face in New Zealand, with Suzanne Conradie now in the role as business development manager.

While new in the Excite position, Conradie is well known to many in the Kiwi trade, particularly after a long stint here with South African Airways.

The announcement comes at a time when Excite is celebrating a 15-year anniversary, marked late last week by a party in relatively new premises in York Street, Sydney.

Air NZ reveals inflight WiFi move

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 00:40

Air New Zealand has started trialling its new Inflight Wi-Fi service on one of its long-haul Boeing 777-300 aircraft.
The airline is rolling out Wi-Fi capability across its international jet fleet, beginning with the 777-300 fleet. 

Reinvest GST, take from tourism

Thursday, 05 October 2017 19:10

A call for the single biggest beneficiary of tourism to reinvest in the product was made yesterday by Tourism Industry Aotearoa boss Chris Roberts.
Speaking at SKAL Auckland’s monthly luncheon, Roberts said the government had increased its GST take by $500m a year, from $700m to $1.2b, since the tourism boom began around four years ago.

No sub for face to face, say recent store entrants

Thursday, 05 October 2017 18:48

Sue and Paul Robinson didn’t take any heed of the naysayers when they first became travel agency store owners three years ago.

After a stint in insurance broking and then a successful property management come inbound tourism venture (especially around the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand), they looked for new opportunities.

‘I looked at franchise for the first time; we have always started our own businesses until then,’ says Sue Robinson.

VR no travel replacement

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 03:18

Virtual reality will become an increasingly important sales tool for travel professionals and is also likely to add to the travel experience – but won’t stop people from actually going places.

That’s the view of Russell Craig, national technology officer, Microsoft New Zealand.

‘I see the two as being both / and, rather than either/ or.’

Payment card security - take it seriously, says TAANZ

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 01:06

The Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) is urging its members to take action now to comply with a global security standard to protect confidential payment card information against theft.

IATA has set a date of 1 March for accredited agents to achieve the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

TAANZ president says there is some lobbying to have IATA ‘see reason’ on the time frame, but that said it is important that agents take the subject seriously.

Diverse results on big night

Saturday, 30 September 2017 23:43

The 2017 TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards produced probably the most even spread of winners in the event’s history, with variation and new winners thrown into the mix.
A notable trend was a steady early call-out of helloworld names – GO Holidays as best wholesaler; Janine Mallon, The Travel Brokers as best broker; Rebekah Hensman of helloworld 5 Mile taking out best rookie of the year; Michelle Malcolm, helloworld North Harbour named best travel agency manager – retail; and helloworld Blenheim, Rolleston, Wanganui being called up as best brand retail – multi location.

The TAANZ tick and more

Thursday, 28 September 2017 21:03

The Travel Agents’ Association New Zealand (TAANZ) says its new consumer proposition and a ‘suite of assets’ promoting the benefits of using a TAANZ travel agent are now available for members.

This includes the new look logo and a ‘Five Reasons to Choose a TAANZ Accredited Travel Agent’ chart which can be easily integrated into agents’ own websites.

First Travel Group’s Margaret Spiro, who was on a spacial marketing group for the project, says the aim was to modernise the logo and the message and make TAANZ more credible to the consumer.

Trade messages lead to high client satisfaction

Thursday, 21 September 2017 21:40

Higher than ever repeat and satisfaction rates from The Travel Corporation clients is due to a large degree to the trade’s knowledge and understanding of the company’s offerings, guests at a function in Auckland heard this week.
‘The messaging in 2017 and into 2018 means that your clients are prepared for the experience they are going to have,’ Scott Cleaver, general manager sales at The Travel Corporation told the gathered agents at Crave Café during the Fiesta event. Cleaver says the event, and similar functions around the country, are about saying thank you to the trade – particularly from the Trafalgar, Contiki and Insight brands. He says that while sharp airfare deals have helped drive sales to Europe in general, the trend has also meant that yields get ‘more challenging’, leading to a higher propensity to sell land content.

Viva updates agents on Mexico

Thursday, 21 September 2017 06:15

Viva Expeditions reports that all of its local guides, and our friends and family in Mexico are safe and well and the company is sending its thoughts and condolences to the people who have been impacted. 

Earlybird has ‘had its worm’

Friday, 15 September 2017 00:46

Adapting to booking patterns and constantly monitoring the costs to travel are two key factors in being a successful travel agent now, says Billy Ballantine, of Lakers House of Travel in Invercargill.
‘I think within five years no one will book anything until within six months of travel,’ says Ballantine, who is a finalist in the best travel consultant – retail category of the TAANZ National Travel Industry Awards. ‘The earlybird has had its worm and we need to adapt to this. Getting ready for the next step – as a travel agent or any business – we must always be relevant and be prepared for the unknown, continually working on our point of difference.’ He says monitoring

Thronies unite

Friday, 15 September 2017 00:42

Fans of Game of Thrones will have the opportunity to meet a Knight of the Kingsguard and a member of the Night’s Watch at the Winterfell Festival on 24 September.

Awards finalists give tips for success, thoughts on trends

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 21:18

Keep your knowledge up, keep training and keep visiting new destinations. That’s one of the tips for success from Samantha Johnston of YOU Travel Taupo.

Intrepid's new food tours in Middle East

Tuesday, 05 September 2017 22:16

Intrepid Travel now offers food adventures in more than 25 countries including two new foodie tours in the Middle East in 2018. The new Real Food Adventures brochure, out now, offers authentic, local food experiences across Europe, Asia, the Americas, the subcontinent and the Middle East with more than 30 itineraries.

Niche travel: trade shows

Sunday, 03 September 2017 06:14

Possibly no other agent in New Zealand knows more about Germany in general and (almost certainly) German trade shows than Robert Laing, owner of Messe Reps.
Laing has actually been dealing with trade shows since 1989, when he worked with Jetsave and later White Heron Express. He started Messe Reps in 1996 and says trade fairs in Germany are still big business and still well attended by companies in New Zealand.

New for Great Train Journeys

Friday, 25 August 2017 02:39

A Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is a key feature of the 2018 Great Train Journeys brochure,

Flight Centre acquires...

Monday, 31 July 2017 21:43

Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT) will acquire two high profile New Zealand travel businesses. One is Travel Managers Group (TMG), a predominantly leisure-focused group that provides systems and support services to a network of more than 180 individual brokers. TMG also operates a 22-shop franchise network, which includes 12 TravelSmart shops and 10 non-branded stores. The other is Executive Travel Group (ETG), New Zealand’s largest independent corporate travel management company.

Upbeat Libeau hails helloworld’s progress

Monday, 31 July 2017 21:38

New stores, new technology and nationwide brand recognition are all indicators of the huge progress being made by helloworld, just over a year since the company launched across New Zealand. At the helloworld gala awards, in Christchurch on Saturday night, general manager marketing, David Libeau, was in an upbeat mood.

Don’t forget us, say independent agents

Monday, 31 July 2017 21:27

A number of independent agents at the Global Travel Network (GTN) Conference over the weekend say they often feel like they are on the ‘periphery’ of the travel industry and forgotten about by suppliers – both air and land. They cited the chance to catch up with 24 airlines, tour operators, cruise companies and other suppliers under one roof as the key reason to attend the conference at Rydges Rotorua.

Food travel – more opportunities to come

Thursday, 27 July 2017 23:10

Foodie travel has found its place over the past couple of years, but there is more growth to come, according to a small but diverse group of tourist offices and tour companies at The Auckland Food Show this week. Intrepid is showing off its Food Worldwide Adventures brochure and hosting a competition for show visitors to win a trip up to the value of $3000. Intrepid assistant manager Charlotte Randell says the company’s food tours are a big hit and the range on offer has steadily grown. New food adventure destinations include South Korea and Israel.

Being aware of duty of care

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 01:20

Recent research from Concur claims that many companies are unaware they have a legal obligation to fulfil their duty of care responsibilities for travelling employees.

However, Paul Halford, marketing manager at Orbit World Travel, says that’s not quite the case anymore.

‘Across the Orbit business, we have a large number of clients – small, medium, large, private, and public. What we see on a day-to-day basis is that employers are definitely aware that they have an obligation, especially over the last 12 months or so,’ he says.

‘Skills crisis starts in schools – Teachers need more support’

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 00:56

The skills crisis in New Zealand’s tourism and travel starts in secondary schools, where both teachers and students in the topics are often looked down upon by their peers, says a leading educator in the sector.

Megan Roberts, tourism work integrated learning leader and industry liaison and senior lecturer at School of Hospitality and Tourism Auckland University of Technology (AUT) says the issue urgently needs leadership.

“The situation in secondary schools needs a real shake-up,’ says Roberts. ‘Tourism and hospitality are often seen as the options for less academic students.

Agents ‘at risk’ says poll – but speakers say there’s life yet

Friday, 21 July 2017 03:38

More than 40% of the audience at a recent travel conference felt that travel agencies and travel management companies are most at risk from the various changes taking place in the industry now.
Another 30.7% of the audience at the Travelport LIVE conference in Sydney felt that everyone in the sector was at risk, while 9.9% felt GDS and technology providers had the most to fear. Airlines came in at 7.7%.
The survey came during a panel discussion on the distribution landscape, when moderator Peter Harbison, executive chairman of CAPA (Centre for Aviation) identified consumer empowerment and big data players as the

Mondo seeks brokers and independents to join group

Thursday, 20 July 2017 03:23

Mondo Travel is looking for brokers and independent agents who want to represent the company in key regions of New Zealand.

Mondo CEO, Tony Terrill, says agents who would like to carry the Mondo logo and gain from the benefits the company brings could potentially take up the option of being fully Mondo branded.

First and All Blacks Tours partner

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 04:34
All Blacks Tours (ABT) and the First Travel Group (FTG) have announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between the two parties. All Blacks Tours General Manager, David Caldwell, says the new partnership will further enable All Blacks Tours to promote official All Blacks supporters travel throughout the country, utilising the extensive network provided by the First Travel Group’s members.

Crisis point for service industry

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 02:55

There’s a skill shortage looming in the service industry that’s going to affect all New Zealanders, across all regions, and visitors to our country. That’s the bold claim of Dean Minchington, ServiceIQ CEO, who says there is a very real crisis around the corner. ‘It puts our successful service sectors at risk, and unless things change soon, New Zealand will be worse for it,’ he says. It’s a shortage of skilled labour needed to fill around 200,000 jobs that will be opening in the next two and a half years, according to the latest At Your Service Aotearoa economic report.

Mobile product to assist agents, says Travelport

Monday, 17 July 2017 06:00

Travelport has released Travelport Trip Assist in Asia Pacific. The new mobile product is designed for travel agents and is being showcased at the company’s annual APAC customer conference event, Travelport LIVE, in Sydney this week. Travelport says it is projected that in 2017, 50% of global mobile travel sales will originate in Asia Pacific. Trip Assist will help agencies by providing advanced mobile travel capabilities such as flexible itinerary management, real time communications and day of travel assistance.

Guaranteed to go – WJ releases Journeys 2018

Tuesday, 11 July 2017 11:11

World Journeys has just released Journeys 2018, its range of small group journeys to destinations around the globe.

Director Ange Pirie points out that all departures are guaranteed to go, with a maximum of 18 guests and minimum number.

In addition, all tours are guaranteed to be fully hosted from New Zealand.

‘This is so important – agents can book their clients on a tour in full condence with the knowledge that it will depart,’ says Pirie.

NZ Biz travel continues to rise says FCM

Monday, 03 July 2017 23:45

The FCM Travel Solutions NZ Spotlight on Business Travel Trends 2017 report shows business travel continues to rise, despite technology such as Skype for Business and WebEx. This reinforces International Air Transport Association (IATA) full-year global passenger traffic results for 2016 showing demand lifting 6% over 2015, with the Asia Pacific region demand growing by 8%. Some 95% of FCM Travel Solutions clients when surveyed said they will be continuing to spend the same, if not more on international travel.

Tourism identity seeks new opportunities

Monday, 03 July 2017 22:47

An environmental border levy and a reinstated Ministry of Tourism are major ‘wish list’ items for outgoing TEC chief executive, Lesley Immink. After six years at the helm of TEC (formerly ITOC) Immink has resigned to stand for the Opportunities Party at this year’s General Election. ‘An environmental levy at the border is a simple solution which has minimal impact on international visitors, captures everyone and would provide immediate returns to communities via a contestable fund,’ she says. Immink also believes the profile of tourism was greater when the industry had its own Ministry, which was disestablished in 2010. ‘When we have no Ministry the communication is disjointed, both internally amongst ourselves and externally to the public and media. I don’t understand why we are so accepting of this.’

‘Bleisure’ a bonus for agents

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 23:41

Promoting and selling leisure travel as an add on to business trips has become a way for agents to add real value for corporate clients, according to trade spokespeople.
Nick Queale, general manager corporate with Flight Centre New Zealand, says that what is referred to as ‘bleisure’ has become an important way for companies to promote rest and relaxation to their travellers.
‘The clients themselves are looking for experiences, that’s becoming such an important component of personal lives – especially for millennials.

Skal CHC charity event

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 01:55

Skal International Christchurch is hosting it’s first charity event for Māia Health Foundation.
Taking place on Bastille Day this Mid Winter Charity Dine and Dance will have a touch of the red, white and blue.
Christchurch Club president, Bruce Garrett says the club felt it was time to have a fun evening of wining, dining and dancing.

Fitness doesn't stop

Thursday, 15 June 2017 05:40

Agents with fitness-mad clients looking for the ultimate adventure challenge should take a look at Xplorer, a Hawaii-based fitness challenge operator that provides multi-day adventure tours on Oahu.

The operator launched around a year ago to meet the demand for fitness-inspired experiences.

Speaking at the Experience Aloha Business Exchange, Xplorer CEO and founder Denise Albano says the all-inclusive tours provide participants with an experience the average tourist might not get to have.

Sheraton Kona’s new look

Thursday, 15 June 2017 05:38

Hawaii's Sheraton Kona Resort will invest more than two million dollars in the property as part of a renovation set for 2018.

The renovation will focus on room refurbs and upgrading the Rays in the Bay restaurant to cash in on the resort's big drawcard - the manta rays that swim up to the property at night.

Self famils in Saigon and Buenos Aires

Thursday, 15 June 2017 05:27

Adventure World and Air New Zealand have launched new travel agent self-famil packages for Buenos Aires and Saigon.

Trade explore Vietnam for four nights for $1180 per person plus taxes for agents and one companion, including return flights Auckland to Saigon with Air New Zealand, four nights’ accommodation at the four-star Grand Hotel, return airport transfers with an English-speaking guide, private half-day city tour and Cu Chi tunnels tour.

Or agents can visit Buenos Aires for $1291 per person plus taxes for themselves and a companion, including return flights Auckland to Buenos Aires with Air New Zealand, four nights’ accommodation at the four-star Intersur Recoleta hotel, return airport transfers, half-day city tour and La Ventana tango dinner and show.

Broker's success

Monday, 12 June 2017 23:47

The ability to become a problem solver in a specific area is one key to success for the modern travel broker, says romance and destination wedding specialist Anita Gatley.
‘I am still a travel agent first and foremost, but I have concentrated on a specialised area that a lot of people don’t really know about.’
Gatley has been involved in travel one way or another for some 25 years, starting with Holiday Shoppe and doing a concerted stint within the education sector at AUT University in Auckland.

Airlines slam AIA recent price hike as unjustified

Thursday, 08 June 2017 22:40

Auckland International Airport has set unjustifiably high prices for international airlines to use the airport over the next five years.
So believes John Beckett, executive director of the Board of Airlines Representatives of New Zealand (BARNZ), who was speaking in response to the airport’s announcement this week it is to increase the fees it charges airlines over the next five years to help fund its infrastructure development.

FTG: Mix of leisure & corporate

Monday, 29 May 2017 23:44

The need to match the traveller with the best options, as well as the common requirements of corporate and leisure travel customers, meant it made sense for First Travel Group to hold an ‘integrated’ frontliners’ conference, says managing director Andrew Bowman.
The conference was held at SkyCity Auckland Convention Centre over the weekend, and included a suppliers day and awards evening on Saturday. It attracted almost 300 people, including a mix of retailers, brokers, and travel

Marriott ‘just getting started’ in this region

Monday, 29 May 2017 22:51

Marriott is ‘just getting started’ in Asia Pacific, despite the group now having some 550 hotels in the region, according to the group’s chief sales and marketing officer Asia Pacific, Peggy Rowe.
Marriott is opening about ‘one and a half hotels’ a week globally, she says, and this part of the word is seeing a fair bit of the action. Aloft Perth, for example, opened just last Friday.
‘When we say we have 35 hotels in Shanghai, people are impressed but compare that with Washington DC, where we have 150 hotels… really, there is plenty still to do in Asia Pacific.’

More concerns about US than Europe, despite Manchester attack

Saturday, 27 May 2017 17:45

A growing resurgence in Kiwi travel to England and Europe is unlikely to be affected by this week’s terrorist attack in Manchester.
Trade throughout New Zealand confirm travellers here will not let the attack on a concert in Manchester, which killed 22 people on Monday, halt their travel plans.
A strawpoll of 10 travel providers and agencies report no trips to England and Europe have been postponed or cancelled in the wake of the attack. And, instead of slowing down trade, some agents have taken fresh bookings this week,