Kiwi Travel Agency Scoops Trans-Tasman Awards

5 July 2013, 9:23AM

New Zealand's largest travel agency has secured three national accolades at an Australasian industry awards ceremony.

House of Travel, and its corporate arm Orbit Corporate Travel, were singled out as industry leaders at the first-ever Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) New Zealand Travel Industry Awards last night.

House of Travel won three out of the four categories it was nominated for, with House of Travel Lakers Invercargill being awarded the Best Travel Agency, Single Location, in NZ over four other agencies.

The Orbit Corporate Travel group was awarded Best Travel Agency Corporate, Multi Location, and House of Travel was awarded Best Travel Agency Retail, Multi Location. Orbit Corporate Travel Wellington was named a finalist in the Best Travel Agency Corporate, Single Location category.

All the major Kiwi travel companies entered the prestigious awards, with 20 named as finalists.

The CEO of House of Travel, Mark O'Donnell, says the company's success is a huge endorsement of its business model, which it has spent the past 18 months reinvigorating.

"As a company, we aim to turn every single transaction into a long-term relationship with a traveller, where they feel confident calling on our expert advice when booking their holidays and business trips," he says.

"Our ongoing business model centres around building these strong relationships with customers, and inspiring them to see the world," says O'Donnell.

House of Travel founder, Chris Paulsen, says he couldn't be more proud to see this cultural direction position the company as a leader in the travel industry.

"Twenty-six years ago we created this fundamental approach. So far, it has been a core part of our business success, and reinvigorating it has helped us to achieve our best year ever for the organisation. We have a lot of other exciting things planned," says Paulsen.

"These awards are a tribute to the renewed energy and focus within the business, as well as the recommitment to the values and beliefs that this company was built on," he says.

House of Travel Lakers Invercargill owner, Tony Laker, says he is thrilled to take home the trophy for the best Kiwi travel agency.

NZ travellers are looking for high quality and diversified service in today's market, he says.

"Travellers are after consultants with expertise who they know will give them fantastic, unrivalled advice. This is what will allow our travel industry to continue to grow and prosper," he says.

"Travel agencies should never limit themselves in their offerings, and always be pushing themselves to offer more."

The outlet secured the award for its ongoing dedication, outstanding commitment to the industry and customer service excellence.

House of Travel's accolades are recognition of the strengths of the company's network in provincial and metropolitan areas, Paulsen says.

Hosted by Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and Travel Agents Association New Zealand (TAANZ), the awards were presented at a cocktail function at Sky City's Convention Centre Epsom Room last night.

The launch of the awards is part of an initiative to strengthen ties between the Australian and New Zealand travel industries.

House of Travel is New Zealand's leading locally owned travel agency with over 650 consultants nationwide. The House of Travel group was recently recognised as one of the US travel industry's top international travel buyers.