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Personal Travel Managers Join All-Stars Mega Famil to NZ

October 21, 2015 Mobile travel consulting No Comments Email Email

TravelManament logo 108x54What do you get if you cross 400 Australian travel agents with four million Kiwis?  A New Zealand mega-famil incorporating 21 different tailor-made itineraries covering activities such as skiing, cycling, wine-tasting and even bridge-swinging… plus everything in between.

Billed as “Six Days. Two Airlines. One Destination,” the All-Stars famil was hosted by Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Tourism New Zealand and aimed to give Australian travel agents a taste of the best New Zealand has to offer.  To qualify, agents had to take an online quiz, after which 400 lucky agents from a range of states, agencies and years of experience were selected.

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Helen Rolton (far right) returned to her Kiwi roots on her South Island itinerary, which included a hike to the foot of Franz Josef Glacier

For Sarina Taylor, representative for Erina in New South Wales, qualifying for the famil was an opportunity to make a visit she describes as long overdue.

“This famil has been a total game changer as to how I can now sell New Zealand for many different types of travellers,” she says.  “I got to experience many outdoor and adventurous activities, plus I experienced and inspected hotels and restaurants that I can now highly recommend to clients, that I would not have known anything about if I hadn’t participated.”

The lucky participants paid just A$200 to take part in the famil, with 21 different itineraries that focused on particular regions or interests.

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Famil Group Photo Alexandra: Sarena Taylor (far left) and her group didn’t let Alexandra’s chilly spring weather interrupt their enjoyment of the South Island’s beautiful Central Otago region

For TravelManagers’ Vicki Hope, representative for Heathcote, NSW, that meant six days exploring the North Island’s Far North as part of “Team Hone Heke”.  Named for a nineteenth-century Maori chief and war leader whose exploits are legendary among Kiwis, the team had the opportunity to brush up on New Zealand’s history and experience a spine-tingling display of Maori culture during their visit to Waitangi.

According to Hope, another highlight was a visit to Waipoua Forest.

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Fiordland’s famously-high rainfall produces a backdrop of endless waterfalls on Jodie Payne’s overnight Fiordland cruise

“The Footprints Night tour to see the ‘Father of the Forest’, (a Kauri tree estimated to be 4,000 years old), was completely magical.  To be in an ancient forest at night, with 30 flashlights showing the way along a wooden boardwalk, listening to native birds including Kiwis calling in the darkness – it was amazing.”

Like Hope, Louise Gillogly, representative for Parkes, NSW, was a member of Team Hone Heke.  Despite having spent time in the South Island six years previously, this was her first visit to the North Island.

“I think visiting any destination makes it so much easier to sell and clients love hearing about your personal experiences.  I actually booked a family of six for two weeks, departing in January 2016, the day before I left for New Zealand, so I’m looking forward to passing on some of my new experiences to them!”

All of the famil itineraries commenced in Auckland with an educational workshop and welcome event before agents departed on their tailor-made itineraries.  This is the second year this mega-famil concept has operated by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia in conjunction with Tourism New Zealand, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

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Full VIP treatment for the VIP famil members, including TravelManagers’ Jodie Payne (back row, centre)

In fact, Michelle Kingston, representative for Pacific Pines in Queensland, had seriously considered pulling out of the famil due to illness.

“I’m so glad I didn’t cancel.  The coach driver, the guides and the other agents on board all made the trip fantastic.  Everything ran smoothly and we got to see and do so much,” she says.

“I will now be able to help several clients who are going to New Zealand next year to do very similar itineraries to mine.  I’ve brought home a lot of maps, brochures, travel guides and books which I will use to show the areas and offer extra pre-booked items to their itineraries.”

Jodi Payne, representative for Cranbrook in Queensland, was fortunate to be selected for the VIP itinerary which included a helicopter ride to Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf for a zip-lining adventure followed by a winery lunch, and an overnight cruise in the South Island’s stunning fiords.

“This really was one of the best famils I have been on – it definitely exceeded my expectations, and at such a low cost for such high end activities and experiences. I know I will never be able to see New Zealand like this again.”

Helen Rolton, representative for Richmond in Victoria agrees.  Originally a South Islander herself, she enjoyed the opportunity to experience the destination from the perspective of a guided coach tour.

“Seeing the reaction to New Zealand of the people that hadn’t been there before has also inspired me to promote my expertise and knowledge and get around to organising the walking tours I’ve been wanting to do since joining TravelManagers,” she says.

Michael Gazal, Executive General Manager for TravelManagers, says the company is thrilled to support initiatives like the All-Stars Mega-Famil.

“The itineraries offer such amazing value for money – there’s simply no way that our personal travel managers (PTMs) could pack as much first-hand experience into such a short space of time for just $200.  Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Tourism New Zealand have set a very high standard that we hope to see them continue in the future.”

“In the meantime,” he adds, “our clients will benefit from the fresh experience and enthusiasm for selling New Zealand holidays that our seven PTMs have brought home with them and shared with their colleagues.” 

For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599. 

Photo captions:

 

Franz Josef: Helen Rolton (far right) returned to her Kiwi roots on her South Island itinerary, which included a hike to the foot of Franz Josef Glacier

 

Famil Group Photo Alexandra: Sarena Taylor (far left) and her group didn’t let Alexandra’s chilly spring weather interrupt their enjoyment of the South Island’s beautiful Central Otago region

 

FullSize Render: Fiordland’s famously-high rainfall produces a backdrop of endless waterfalls on Jodie Payne’s overnight Fiordland cruise

 

IMG_1076: Full VIP treatment for the VIP famil members, including TravelManagers’ Jodie Payne (back row, centre) ENDS

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