Hot Off The Press
Viking’s commercial manager New Zealand, Steve Parker says his main objective is to continue to help (where he can) agents struggling to cope with the amount of business and reduced resources.
‘I have been in the retail environment and I know how busy they are. If I can help by talking to their clients directly, even in the evening at a convenient time, I am happy to call them and help get them across the line for the agent.’
Developing a public relations and marketing strategy around attracting new people into the industry is a major priority for the Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand, says chief executive officer Greg Hamilton.
‘We will be going out to engage with members about what they need on this front,’ says Hamilton.
‘Presuming members will not be able to replace all the gaps with experienced people, what skill sets do new people need and what does the training for that look like?
Travel retailers need to ensure they are not running in ever decreasing circles trying to take on more business than they can handle, says Rahul Sharma, managing director of Exotic Holidays.
He says that with depleted staff numbers, a surge in bookings and more complex border regulations, the trade could be in danger of providing sub-standard service and in turn driving clients back to booking on-line (with OTAs).
Volume is coming back and things are looking up, but the continued closure of borders to some key inbound markets and a resulting lack of competition among carriers and other suppliers means 2022 will continue to be challenging, says Rob Beecher, director of Global Travel Network (GTN).
Offshore group travel is back in a big way and incentives won’t be far behind, says Kim Herd of Venture Travel.
Herd says that among business that she has handled since the borders have started to open is a sports team to France, with the enquiry three weeks ago and the travel booked for August.
Brokers and agents are reporting that a fee-driven structure to their business is being readily accepted by most clients – as long as there is clarity around charges.
Sandra Ivelja, of So Travel and a member of NZ Travel Brokers, says she has a schedule of fees which she emails to customers before any work is done.