Canterbury and West Coast travellers’ growing interest in luxury destinations has seen three local travel agencies pick up national awards.
House of Travel Rangiora has nabbed the prize for Top Performing Outlet for the second year in a row at its in-house awards. The proud team also won the prize for Top Performing Medium-Sized Outlet, beating more than 70 other stores.
Meanwhile, House of Travel Northlands in Christchurch took out Top Performing Large-Sized Outlet of the year, and House of Travel Greymouth stole the prize for Top Performing Small-Sized Outlet.
All three travel agencies have noticed a trend where bookings to destinations like Australia, North America, the South Pacific and Europe are booming.
House of Travel Rangiora owner Jonathan Prager says local hardship has impacted on travellers’ habits.
“This has resulted in a more aspirational mentality in the community, where people are more inclined to book holidays,” he explains.
“Now, people are living more in the moment, and booking their dream trip, rather than waiting for a rainy day. We are also seeing more people come into the store, as Rangiora sees an increase in its population, with many moving here from Christchurch.”
The Owner of House of Travel Northlands, Cheryl Whitham, has also noted Christchurch clients are wanting to escaping reality, and are taking some time out to treat themselves by booking overseas trips.
“People are no longer saving their money for a rainy day, because the rainy day is here,” she says.
While Australia and the South Pacific are still very popular for weekend getaways and winter breaks, the number of clients spending more to take more luxury holidays to the likes of Europe, Asia and America has increased, Whitham says.
“Long-haul trips are generally on the rise as the strong NZ dollar means fantastic value for money, which is excellent when buying at your destination,” she says.
The co-owner of House of Travel Greymouth, Stacey Graham, has noticed a change in the attitude of local travellers, too. Hardship has seen West Coasters seizing the day more – taking their desired holiday now, rather than waiting, she says.
“Coasters always get back up when they’re knocked down, and they are now living more in the moment by booking more trips to luxury destinations such as Europe and America,” she says.
The CEO for House of Travel, Mark O’Donnell, says that he is thrilled to see travellers turning to their local House of Travel to book their dream trip away.
“It’s fantastic to see they are seeking top quality advice from our well-travelled consultants at House of Travel. These teams’ national successes are each a nod to how our Kiwi-owned company is committed to catering to the ever-evolving needs of Kiwis with itchy feet.”
Indeed, Prager believes the ongoing achievements of his Rangiora outlet is in part owed to his team’s reliable and friendly reputation, which he says it has cemented over its 13 years of operation.
“A low staff turnover means that our locals have established strong and trusting relationships with our consultants. They know that our dedicated approach is genuine, and that we’ll do our best to make sure they have the best holiday possible,” he says.
The top performing House of Travel outlets were given their prestigious awards at the company’s annual prize-giving in Auckland on April 13.