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Consumers Real winners of Aggregated Website

Consumers Real winners of Aggregated Website

House of Travel has been the number one travel agency website for seven of the past eights months according to figures released by Hitwise.

The latest figures released confirmed they have received more visitors to their website in April than any other travel agency site in New Zealand.

House of Travel's retail director Brent Thomas said while the number one position was welcomed they were more interested in the sales that were being generated through the website.

"It has been exciting to see us as the top travel agency website so consistently since we launched however the real success of the website must be judged through sales."

House of Travel claims their site is tracking above budgeted figures but is still small in relation to the group's overall turnover.

"There are lots of positive aspects coming through, including that the majority of our online customers were not previously booking their travel through House of Travel. Many of our existing customers like how user-friendly it is and that it is a great reference tool but they then prefer to ring up or come in and talk to their consultant.

It's about individual preference and providing our customers with whatever channel they most prefer to deal with as it doesn't matter whether they buy online or in store the price is the same. 50% of our bookings online occur outside of business hours when people are at home and are able to discuss options with family," Mr Thomas said.

The House of Travel website is unique in providing all the available airfares to customers through its in-house technology which scrapes the individual airline websites for deals only accessible online. No other site does this.

"Any of the special deals offered by airlines on their websites are immediately available at the same time on our website, it's that effective. We are also now offering domestic fares at the same prices offered by Qantas and Air New Zealand. There's a very good chance you'll get a great deal as we provide you with the costs and times of travelling on both airlines. So you may end up flying down one Qantas and back Air New Zealand and of course flying to Australia, there are so many airlines and so many more choices each way."

With the planned roll out of Broadband throughout New Zealand this year Mr Thomas believes it will only enhance the online offering.

"Faster access to information and photos is going to make it easier and more enjoyable for people in areas where traditionally they have been using a phone line to dial in for internet access."

Thomas remarked that through the internet the average traveller was so much more informed which was seen as a positive.

"Sure some travel agents may be concerned about the consumer accessing information online but we see this as good thing. Discussion between a travel specialist and an informed customer is always going to produce a more animated and constructive dialogue which results in a better trip being organised and the needs of the customer being satisfied.

From our research we know that the average visit to our website is four minutes longer than to other similar sites. This is resulting in enquiries for us to provide more information or a quote on a virtual itinerary they have developed themselves from the 'looking' side of our website. In many cases these enquiries result in significant business which again has been a really positive aspect to going online."

House of Travel said the consumer was benefiting significantly from all the available aggregated airfares in one place and they were confident the great deals seen over the past few months would continue.


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