YOU Travel has appointed Toni Paltridge to its marketing department.
Paltridge has held various marketing positions within the New Zealand travel industry dating back to Stella Travel services, operating her own company Sister Trio Retreats, and various temporary roles in the industry throughout the pandemic.
Despite initially being driven largely by the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market and pent up demand, the current upsurge in travel enquiries and bookings should in no way be regarded as a flash in the pan, says First Travel Group’s general manager retail John Willson.
He says the trade needs to adapt to the current business environment, at least in the medium term, where the challenge is having the people power to cater for the upsurge – as well as making sure travel businesses are profitable.
The travel and tourism sectors have greeted the Government’s five step opening plan with enthusiasm, with TAANZ president Brent Thomas saying this is the first time since March 2020 that the message has clearly been ‘the borders are open’.
However they have also pinpointed major ongoing challenges, particualrly the self isolation requirement. (See separate story this page)
Travel locations that have remained open through the Covid-19 period, particularly branded locations, will retain a strong position in the market as the travel industry recovers, says John Willson, general manger retail with First Travel.
He says clients will be looking for financially stable and trustworthy advisors who are easy to access for a one-on-one conversation.
‘The travelling public will still do their searching online but either through a lack of confidence or because of fear instille upon them, they will not press the book button.’
First Travel Group is inviting travel agents and brokers to get a first hand demonstration of its new technology, saying its leading edge system will enable the trade to take full advantage of travel’s return.
‘We realise these are frustrating times for the sector,’ says First Travel Group’s (FTG’s) general manager retail, John Willson, ‘but we have been putting a lot of hard work into our offerings and we believe we are well positioned for the reboot of travel.
‘It’s a waiting game at the moment but we know it will come back strong – the experience in the US and UK, and soon Australia, show us that.’
First Travel Group is looking to relaunch, refresh and revitalise for 2021, says chief executive Malcolm MacLeod.
The year will see a focus on new technology, including the Odysseus booking system in conjunction with Creative Cruising New Zealand and the high-productivity air ticketing programme Aeronology. The group will also be looking to address points raised in its 2020 members satisfaction survey such as improving turnaround times on quotes and bookings, and introducing more exclusive deals.
Taiwan’s continued success in controlling Covid-19 is a reminder that New Zealand’s ‘travel bubble’ plans should not be restricted to Australia and the Pacific, a number of trade sources point out.
Paul Dymond, managing director of Wendy Wu Tours in New Zealand says the Taiwanese seem to have successfully managed Covid-19 and should soon be in a position to open borders with
The travel agency community has reasons to be optimistic about the future despite the current grim situation, according to an industry stalwart.
John Willson, general manager retail with First Travel Group says certain factors remain critical at the moment. These include an extension of the wage subsidy, a favourable response by government to the travel brand submission, and a gradual, steady opening of borders.