Helloworld is pushing ahead with the launch of the helloworld retail brand in New Zealand early next year, despite the decision of 36 United Travel franchisees to jump ship.
That represents more than 30% of the New Zealand network.
The company tried but failed to re-brand them as helloworld outlets, after United Travel franchisees voted earlier this year not to adopt the new branding.
“HLO will consolidate a number of franchisees currently trading under the Harvey World Travel and United Travel brands and expand the network and geographical footprint with up to 10 retail stores it intends to acquire from Air New Zealand.”
News of the mass resignations emerged after the company said it was re-branding all its New Zealand outlets as helloworld in 2016.
Helloworld previously had 90 New Zealand outlets, split evenly between the Harvey World Travel and United Travel brands as part of its Stella Travel Services Network.
Stella Travel Services chief executive Greig Leighton said the departure of “a number of United Travel agents” was “not material to the financial results at a Group level”.
While confirming that 36 members currently trading under the United Travel brand would be leaving, Leighton said the effect of the departures on Helloworld Group earnings would not be material and that the unified value proposition was “resonating strongly” with most of the group’s New Zealand agents.
“Some franchisees have made the decision that helloworld is not for them and, while that is disappointing, we are confident that we have a broad network footprint and a strong platform from which to launch helloworld in New Zealand,” he said.
“Under the terms of the franchise agreement, the departing franchisees will remain with the Group until the end of March next year and will continue to source product from, and participate in, our Group supply agreements until November 2016.”
The company’s chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said that the unification of the retail network under the helloworld brand in 2016 would see the NZ operations continue to build on its strong foundations.
“The ever changing nature of our industry means it is increasingly difficult for agents to individually invest in technology and marketing in this rapidly growing digital retail environment where brand awareness is so important to the travel consumer,” she said.
“Being part of a strong and large-scale network like helloworld delivers individual agents the many advantages of Helloworld’s ongoing investment in proprietary technology, training, product and profile which means our agents can focus on doing what they do best – sell travel and run successful businesses.”
In addition to the retail network which also includes the wholly owned Independent Retail Network and The Travel Brokers, Helloworld’s New Zealand operations include:
- Air Tickets – 24/7 Air Ticketing and Airline Representation Services
- GO Holidays – a leading outbound travel wholesaler offering wholesaling to all global destinations, special interest groups/tours, conferences & incentives, cruising and adventure travel
- Atlantic Pacific American Express (APX) – a major TMC in the New Zealand market with offices in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.
Edited by William Sykes