Mark Rose, chief executive officer of The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments in Queenstown Mark Rose, chief executive officer of The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments in Queenstown

Agents, 'make use of the tools'

New Zealand accommodation providers at the Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ Conference recently urged agents to embrace on-line booking systems.

Mark Rose, chief executive officer of The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments in Queenstown, says the property will be offering the best commission level to those agents who go into the property’s system and take rooms seamlessly.

‘Phone and email will be treated differently,’ he says. ‘Staff, especially good staff, are more and more difficult to find and we want them looking after guests rather than being in the back room. Times have definitely changed and the reservation process, particularly for FIT, has got to become more and more automated,’ adds Rose.

‘Time is of the essence. It always has been but sometimes in the past profit margins have meant we may have felt it wasn’t that important.’

Sharon McGuire, business development and quality manager of Asure Accommodation, says the trade is being encouraged to use Asuredirect when booking at the group’s 39 Kiwi owned and operated properties.

‘The rates are loaded for 2022-23. They can see the booking history and change bookings as required without having to contact the property.’

McGuire says this helps at a time when hotel owners are rolling their sleeves up and becoming housekeepers and maintenance people along with running a business.

‘Of course, the agents are also stretched now when it comes to resources. So it makes sense to use the innovative tools we have available.’

Georgina Torrington, director of sales and marketing with Brook Serene (operator of The George in Christchurch and Regent Rotorua) says the company still welcomes personal contact with agents.

‘A lot of our agents are trying to move into live availability and we can help facilitate that. But some of our smaller agents don’t have the systems that are compatible.

‘We’ll take a booking however it comes.’

Richard Crouch, director of sales and marketing with Safari Hotels, says having direct connection through a travel manager has obvious advantages.

‘It provides the agents with visible availability and gives access to dynamic rates. It also means we can manage the close outs and demand easily. It’s another evolution in the distribution channel.’

Brendan Davies, director international and corporate sales with Millennium Hotels and Resorts, says a lot of the larger trade partners are connected dynamically anyway.

‘Some of the smaller agents haven’t got the capability to do it, but it certainly does make things easier.’