We talk travel with House of Travel Ferrymead owners Mel Hubber and Kim Beswick, in the first of an ongoing column.
You are both working mums, tell us more about your families? Kim: My partner Tony & I have a gorgeous three-year-old son, Theo, who seems to be in charge at our place as well as my partner’s 21-year-old son. It’s a busy, happy house.
Mel: I am a stepmum to a wonderful 18-year-old, Olivia who we have just helped relocate into the halls at Auckland University for her first year of a business degree. My husband and I have now found ourselves as empty-nesters.
Where was your most memorable holiday and why? Kim: Such a hard question! Borneo was a wonderful holiday for us, amazing wildlife and scenery. Also, Theo’s first trip when he was a baby and we stayed in a villa in Provence.
Mel: Egypt because I had always dreamed of seeing the pyramids and the Sphinx since I was young. Plus I went there on my own (and joined a group trip) which was scary but exhilarating at the same time.
What destination is on your wish list for 2020? Kim: This year we are planning to go to London, Barcelona and Dubai for the World Expo in October and a quick trip soon to Auckland to see Book of Mormon.
Mel: Tahiti is just such an idyllic destination quite close to home and no shopping temptations as I just can’t help myself.
House of Travel Christchurch City is all for embracing the family dynamic and recognising that travel is a powerful educational tool. Travel has never been so affordable, nor have they been able to offer such a vast range of holiday options that cater for all.
Whether it’s a cruise, flop and drop, or an adventure holiday you’re after, House of Travel Christchurch City really does have the experts instore to ensure you get an amazing holiday experience that every member of the family can enjoy.
House of Travel’s Top Consultant for 2018, Belinda Fifield says one of the key tips to achieve your dream family holiday is to plan your trip well in advance. This not only ensures you can take advantage of the best deals, but also that you secure the best possible options for your family’s needs… this is the recipe for an amazing family holiday!
If you want to travel during school holidays, you need to start talking to House of Travel consultants at least 11 months out. This then assists them in getting every request catered for, from interconnecting rooms to securing your preferred cruise and cabins.
Cruises are very popular with families as they offer so many facilities on board that ensure every member of the family gets their own unique experience. Many multi-generational families who travel for a celebration are going for the cruise option, as every member of the family, from infants to grandparents, are catered for.
The bonus of a cruise holiday is you only have to unpack once, enabling you and your family to make the most of each day. The House of Travel Christchurch City team are experts at providing the right experience for their clients. General Manager Megan McCall says, “We pride ourselves on using our knowledge and ability to think outside of the box to create unique holiday experiences for our clients.
“There are a lot of family friendly tours that you can do which offer the whole family an adventure, mixing with like-minded families and ensuring that it is at a pace that gives you free time to spend at the pool or just having some time-out. Vietnam is especially popular with families. We’ve had amazing feedback from clients, with some rebooking for the following year for another family tour as soon as they return.”
It really doesn’t matter what experience you are after, or what your family dynamic is, you just need to come and visit the travel experts at House of Travel Christchurch City and they will work with you to create your own unique journey.
“We want clients to bring us their bucket list – their trip to cherish – and we’ll work with them to achieve their dream,” Megan says, “That’s why our motto is ‘Better Together’, because it is!”
The 2020 Summer Olympics is scheduled to begin 24 July through til 9 August next year and already, we sports-mad Kiwis are making sure we don’t miss out on any of the action at Tokyo 2020.
Founder, Managing Director and Owner of House of Travel Christchurch City office, David Williams, says their bookings for Tokyo 2020 opened on 20 June to unprecedented demand. “We’re already close to 60 percent of our merchandise sold and we know the remaining 40 percent will fill quickly. The Olympics attract more than double the numbers of the Rugby World Cup.”
New Zealand Olympic Travel (NZOT) began in 2013 as a joint venture between House of Travel and the New Zealand Olympic Committee to deliver a bespoke Olympic Travel and Games experience. It’s managed exclusively through the House of Travel Christchurch City office. David’s team oversees all transport, accommodation and promotion for eight games events within a four-year cycle, comprising the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games.
With sports celebrity commentator Jenny-May Clarkson and former Olympic rowing gold medalist Eric Murray hosting Tokyo 2020, this promises to be the ultimate Olympic experience. Apart from NZOT, another branch unique to House of Travel Christchurch City is HOT Events, started by David in 2000 and headed by Business Director Victoria Wales.
HOT Events creates programmes for conferences and incentive events that take in the culture of the destination and offer something special that can be booked off the shelf – like a private tour of Tokyo with your own Sumo guides; exploring Saigon on a vespa; touring the hinterland of Bali in VW Jeeps, or just enjoying a simple lunch on your own private beach in Fiji.
“For some, an incentive trip is to experience a new destination they mightn’t normally do on their own, such as an intrepid experience in ultimate luxury; while others may be seeking professional and personal development. Incentive trips aim to build business relationships through the benefits of networking away from the office,” Victoria says.
HOT Events is designed to celebrate success, deliver sustainable growth to businesses and, most importantly, create unforgettable tailormade experiences. Their success is evidenced by their 14 awards collected at the HOT Awards on 23 March 2019, including the highly coveted Best Performing House of Travel Outlet 2018.
David and Victoria say crucial to this success is their collaboration with clients and their relationships with airlines and hotels. “Clients know and love us. We build respectful relationships, instead of being just suppliers. The reason they keep returning is because we deliver product that far exceeds clients’ expectations.”
The Meetings, Incentive, Conventions, Exhibition (MICE) industry of Christchurch has suffered greatly since 2011 with the loss our city’s convention centre, but it is exciting to have Te Pae on track for a 2020 opening, along with the Lyttelton Cruise Wharf; developments which will bring visitors into our inner city to experience what we love so much about Christchurch.
Venues like the Arts Centre and the Christchurch Town Hall reopening is encouraging, with many local events taking place – it is now up to us to encourage national and international organisations to come back to Christchurch and spend their valuable visitor dollar with us.
Recently, I was lucky to be part of an industry familiarisation trip of Australian MICE buyers. We demonstrated that Christchurch is back and ready to be one of New Zealand’s premier conference destinations for international events.
At HOT Events, we have had to adapt – where previously we did a lot of Christchurch events, post 2011 we had to move our focus offshore. I am delighted to say that we are now managing a client’s annual conference for the first time in Christchurch since 2008.
We have been very lucky in our company to also keep the amazing talent we have in Christchurch – this year we won large at the annual House of Travel Awards. I am extremely proud that we are competing and succeeding in an industry many thought was going to be extinct with the development of technology, and I can’t wait to show New Zealand’s newest city – Christchurch – to the MICE world again.