Scholarships are open for those working in the New Zealand travel industry who want to start 2024 by accelerating their career through the Travel Industry Mentor Experience (TIME) mentoring programme.
Hoteliers should think of Expedia as a full distribution platform through which to access various channels, Stu Udy, director retail distribution at Expedia TAAP told attendees at the group’s partner event in Park Hyatt Auckland.
Inspiresport Group has acquired the Tour Time Group. This includes Tour Time New Zealand Ltd, Tour Time Australia Pty Ltd, Tour Time USA LLC, and Rugby Tours International Ltd (NZ, AUS, USA and Argentina).
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is inviting the entire New Zealand and Australia travel industry to step up for NCL’s fourth annual Walk for Wellness.
This year, the cruise line is bringing the industry together as a show of strength and support, and to be part of NCL’s official world record attempt for the longest distance achieved by a team of travel professionals in one month.
A number of current consumer and lifestyle trends are working to the advantage of the travel trade, leading Australian keynote speaker Amanda Stevens told the recent Flight Centre Travel Group NZ Independent Agents Conference recently.
Confirmation of definite departures, enhancements to its digital brochure and a new itinerary combining popular sights with a focus in Aboriginal culture were among developments emphasised by AAT Kings CEO Ben Hall this week.
Agents can embrace ChatGTB and other AI developments to their advantage while still providing the personal touch and human interaction that clients value, delegates at the FCTG New Zealand Independent Conference heard late last week.
James Kavanagh, Flight Centre’s CEO leisure, says agents should not be afraid of the technology and should take heed of former predictions of doom.
travel&co. and Air New Zealand have launched an incentive that will see eight Kiwi travel agents jetting off to Canada in March 2024. No ski or board experience is needed as there will be plenty of time for lessons and après ski and exploring Vancouver.
Qantas recently took nine agents from New Zealand to its headquarters in Sydney to the Best of North America Day.
The airline hosted a total of around 200 agents from across Australia and New Zealand on a day where they were fully immersed in all things Qantas and North America.
SeaLink introduced its new ‘go-to’ person to New Zealand trade last week at a time when Kiwi visitor numbers are increasing again for the Australian company.
Tina Chaisuwan-Baker is now global sales coordinator and sales manager NZ, based in Sydney. She was one of the hosts, along with GM global sales and distribution Richard Doyle, at an intimate function for agents, media and other industry partners at the Adina Hotel in Auckland on Wednesday.
Intrepid Travel has launched more than 300 new trip departures in its top-demand travel destinations around the world.
By integrating Intrepid’s 26 on-the-ground Destination Management Companies (DMCs) the tour operator has further developed its scope of operations in booming locations including Japan, Italy and Morocco.
Exotic Holidays is seeing increased demand for group tours, both from school and leisure markets, says managing director Rahul Sharma.
‘These are all coming through the trade,’ he says. ‘Agents are becoming more confident in organising and selling group tours.’
The travel and tourism sector internationally has become a prime focus for cyberattacks in recent times, resulting in ransomware incidents arising from data breaches, according to analytics company GlobalData.
Cybersecurity concerns within the industry saw a 4% year-on-year (YoY) rise in 2022.
Helloworld New Zealand has launched the Helloworld Travel Academy, designed to provide training and development opportunities to Helloworld member networks. The aim is to attract, train and retain employees in the travel industry.
New TIME NZ sponsors Silversea Cruises and Mint Payments, along with loyal sponsor Expedia TAAP have announced the recipients of their mentee scholarships, starting 8 March.
Angela Webber from House of Travel will be sponsored by Silversea Cruises, Danielle Mueth from First Light Travel by Mint, and Zaheda Davies, NZ Travel Brokers by Expedia TAAP.
Registrations are open now for Tourism Ireland’s B2B roadshow visiting Auckland on Monday 20 February at SkyCity Grand Hotel. This will include an evening event for travel agents with presentations and networking opportunities.
Suppliers attending from Ireland include EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum; Griffin Hotel Group; Hastings Hotels; Killeavy Castle Estate; MCT Irish Tours; Original Irish Hotels; Park Hotel Kenmare; Powerscourt Distillery; Titanic Belfast and Visit Derry. Register HERE.
The Dream Western Australia Roadshow will visit Auckland on Thursday 30 March at the Tote on Ascot, Ellerslie Event Centre with free parking.
The trade event will include an evening function for travel agents with key WA tourism operators presenting their holiday ideas, itinerary suggestions and cruise options for Western Australia.
Massimo Lenzi and Jon Hunter from Trovare Tuscany will be in New Zealand from 28 February until 10 March, travelling from Wellington to Auckland meeting with travel agents.
An evening promotion is planned in Cambridge for Thursday 9 March, for agents and their clients.
Travel agents will be able to update themselves on high end leisure and events possibilities with a range of suppliers from around the world at a morning / early afternoon event in Auckland on Monday, 27 February.
DMS Destination Marketing Services is bringing DMS Connect back to this market after a forced break during the Covid lockdowns.
A niche wholesaler dealing in the events sector is expecting ‘phenomenal demand’ for sporting and cultural occasions next year – both far afield and close to home.
Just as pent up demand has seen Kiwis booking ‘once-in a-lifetime’ destinations such as Galapagos, the Poles and Alaska, they are also registering interest for high profile motorsports, tennis, golf and US sporting events such as basketball, baseball, NFL (American Football), and ice hockey, says Jay Soysa, AIM Holidays’ product/reservations manager.
Expedia Group has a number of new features available to members of the Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP) including an improved accommodation quote process and the recently revealed extension of Expedia’s Live Agent Chat to agents.
‘As part of our commitment to help travel agents deliver for the travellers they serve, Expedia Group is further innovating our TAAP solutions to put the most useful tools at their disposal,’ saysTAAP retail distribution director ANZ Stuart Udy.
Though travel businesses are moving more towards a fee-based model, in most cases they should still be charging more, says an accountant who specialises in the sector.
Paul Davies, partner with OneTeam Chartered Accountants, says that many agencies are currently earning significant profits – as much in five or six months as they would have in a year pre-Covid. However that is on the back of the principals and their reduced teams working extremely hard and putting in longer hours than are sustainable.
The Globus family of brands has just wrapped up a two week multi-city programme of Europe launch events around New Zealand, emphasising new products in its range as well as reminding agents of more familiar options.
Alka Thapar, national sales manager NZ, says the turnout and interest from agents and brokers around the country has been appreciated at a time when everyone is extremely busy.
Workforce issues across a number of areas, including in the travel agency community, are the biggest challenges facing the cruise sector right now, according to panellists at the Cruise 360 conference in Sydney.
Steve Odell, senior vice-president and managing director, Asia Pacific of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, says some of his biggest concerns are around the distribution channel.
Travel advisors should not be afraid to throw crazy ideas at their past clients and give them a nudge to travel again of they are hesitant, delegates at the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA’s) Cruise 360 conference in Sydney recently were told.
Flight Centre NZ is releasing a Captain’s Package to help Kiwis avoid travel chaos and have a trouble-free holiday.
Managing director, David Coombes says the travel rebound since borders reopened has been overwhelming.
Inbound operators at the Tourism Export Council (TECNZ) Conference have been advised to make sure their terms and conditions are ‘rock solid’ and then be prepared to be firm when clients request a refund they are not entitled to.
Wendy van Lieshout, of Active Adventures and Austin Adventures, says the biggest challenge right now is fickle customers. ‘They are all over the place, there’s no pattern.’
A New Zealand adventure operator says a key part of his company’s evolution over the past two years was gaining new relationships with agents here – something he is intent on retaining and nurturing despite the borders opening to international visitors.
Travel agents have been quick to embrace an international touring option newly available in the New Zealand market, says Tui Davenport, reservations and sales manager for Worldwide Caravan & Motorhome Holidays.
‘Agents are contacting us and saying they have had enquiries for motorhome holidays in Europe or other destinations in the past but they didn’t know where to go to access this so they have steered them towards a self-drive (car) holiday instead,’ says Davenport.
A multi-million dollar investment in New Zealand’s international tourism infrastructure is expected to ease a critical shortage of rental vehicles.
Jucy, one of the country’s largest vehicle rental operators, will invest $40 million dollars to expand its fleet of campervans and cars.
Club Med has this week launched its Early Bird 2023 Sun Sale, offering up to 30% on its sun resorts for travel dates between 1 May and 16 December 2023.
Agents can log into the new Club Med Travel Agent Portal to secure the brand’s best price guarantee on its sun resorts across the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Asia.
Worldwide Caravan & Motorhome Holidays has released a new 84-page brochure featuring a comprehensive range of motorhome holidays throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
A subsidiary of UK-based Alan Rogers Travel Group and the Caravan & Motorhome Club, the specialist operator offers small group, locally guided motorhome tours in addition to independent and tailor-made itineraries for FIT travellers. It provides expert local knowledge and advice, as well as packages that can include everything from motorhome hire, pre-booked campsites and sightseeing to ferry crossings, Eurotunnel, transfers and pre and post accommodation.
Rail Online CEO James Dunne says the latest Eurail sales data indicates that less than a quarter of Eurail bookings are being made through a travel agent, pre-pandemic this figure was more like half.
‘Rail Online is offering 7% commission and with the average value of a Eurail Pass $500 per person we would like to see these high value bookings come through from the trade,’ Dunne adds.
A move that has added value to agents and also reduced hassle for both the trade and clients has been extended by Exotic Holidays due to a strong response.
Managing director Rahul Sharma, says Exotic, through sister company Visa Assist, has been waiving visa processing fees for India and Vietnam for a couple of weeks.
Globus family of brands is back up to pre-Covid staffing levels in New Zealand and receiving solid bookings each day from the trade, says the company’s head of New Zealand, Brett Simon.
Though capacity constraints are still a challenge, Simon says GFOB is receiving interest and conversions across the board. He adds that premium products such as Royal Suites on Avalon Cruises and upgrades to Globus from consumers who may have typically travelled Cosmos being par for the course currently.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has announced the return of its Cruise Port & Destination Virtual Showcase, giving travel agent members a chance to gain practical insight into top cruise destinations around the world.
The week-long webinar programme will run from July 19 to 26 with presentations from 12 CLIA Executive Partners, each providing information to ensure cruise clients get the most from their visits.
Blenheim based carrier Sounds Air has signed with Amadeus to make its content available to travel sellers across the world through the Amadeus Travel Platform. Sounds Air is hosted by the Takeflite Solutions passenger service system and this development is a result of a new partnership between Amadeus and Takeflite that provides enhanced global distribution options to regional airlines.
Christchurch Airport has unveiled a permanent and purpose-built welcome lounge in the terminal to support incentive and conference organisers wanting to theme, publicise and welcome their events and its participants.
‘Business events start in our city when people touch down,’ says the airport’s general manager trade development Scott Callaway.
A whole new portfolio, the largest expansion of product in Wendy Wu Tours’ history, is an enduring and positive result of the Covid pandemic, the company’s founder says,
‘Of course Covid was devastating for us and for the whole industry,’ says founder Wendy Wu. ‘However, out of the ashes of that we have expanded into places like Scotland, Portugal, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and central Asia. In the past we have always added a destination at a time.’
Rental car specialist DriveAway says the strong and resurgence of bookings has highlighted both opportunities and challenges for trade and their clients after two years of closed borders.
Alison Hopkirk, NZ business development manager with DriveAway says that commissions on bookings tend to be higher than they were before the pandemic.
Domestic travel with an eye to exceptional experiences for Kiwis will remain a focus for Viva Expeditions, even as its pre-pandemic business starts to gain momentum again, says founder Rachel Williams.
With offices here and in South America, Viva is back promoting two-way travel between the destinations. However, successful forays into the local market have shown Williams the worth of having domestic product with a difference on offer.
New Zealand’s five Skal Clubs have come through the last two years holding membership and are now starting to see numbers increase, says Skal International New Zealand president Sally Attfield.
The fellowship orientated club for travel and tourism professionals held its national AGM and congress in Wellington over the weekend, which also marked the 65th anniversary since the club started in the city.
The highlight of the event was a dinner at the Grand Hall in Parliament.
Features such as the new TAAP Quotation tool have proved a hit with New Zealand agents, says Expedia TAAP’s director travel agent distribution, Stuart Udy. This tool enables a TAAP agent to create a quote in seconds.
‘NZ agents have embraced the feature in just a few weeks and are among the top adopters worldwide,’ says Udy.
Club Med has launched a new loyalty programme for New Zealand travel industry partners.
It comes as the company also unveils its revamped Club Med Travel Agent Portal featuring a new booking service.
Recognising and responding to the changing needs and challenges of travel trade partners remains the top priority for Stuba, says the accommodation wholesaler’s BDM New Zealand and Queensland, Lisa Linn.
‘We constantly receive feedback about how supportive Stuba has been over the last two years with processing refunds and handling credits,’ says Linn.
Intrepid Travel has announced key leadership changes to its Australia-New Zealand management team, representing Intrepid’s first all-female regional leadership team.
This includes Sarah Clark returning as ANZ managing director, and Yvette Thompson promoted to general manager - sales and partnerships to lead all partner relationships and commercial agreements.
A visit by key executives, the naming of a brand manager for this market and a revamped travel agent portal are all evidence of Club Med’s new emphasis and refreshed approach to the New Zealand trade.
Brendon King is now brand manager for New Zealand, having been in a BDM role with the New South Wales market in recent years, while Michelle Davies has been appointed general manager Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. Both were in market this month along with Lisa Bacon, head of sales – trade and MICE.
Competing tour operators have banded together to restore confidence in school travel and mitigate financial risks to parents, students and schools for future tours.
The School Travel Collective Inc (STC) is addressing the two main questions asked by parents ask when contemplating sending their child on a school trip: Is my child going to be safe? Is my money going to be safe?
A new specialist operator created by local rail experts aims to make booking international train journeys easier for New Zealand travel agents.
The brainchild of Rail Europe’s former CEO for New Zealand and Australia, James Dunne, Rail Online offers a booking platform, created in partnership with global rail technology provider SilverRail, whose software currently facilitates more than 30 million online rail bookings each year.