As previously disclosed, HLO will launch the helloworld brand in NZ building on the success of the brand in the Australian market. 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.
HLO CEO 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,” Ms Gaines 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.”
While confirming that 36 members currently trading under the United Travel brand would be leaving the NZ network, CEO Stella Travel Services Mr Greig Leighton said the effect of the departures on HLO Group earnings would not be material and that the unified value proposition was resonating strongly with the majority of the Group’s New Zealand agents.
Mr Leighton said:
“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.
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 helloworld brand offers an extremely strong value proposition to our New Zealand network and we will continue to work closely with our franchisees and independent agents on a case-bycase basis ahead of the 2016 launch to achieve an optimal outcome for all.”
In addition to the retail network which also includes the wholly owned Independent Retail Network and The Travel Brokers, Helloworld has extensive operations in New Zealand including:
- 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. Winner ‘Best Brand Corporate’ at the National Travel Industry Awards 2014, 2015