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House Of Travel Founder Awarded Category

House Of Travel Founder Awarded Category

New Zealand's House of Travel founder and managing director, Chris Paulsen, was awarded the category award for the "Retail, Consumer and Industrial Products" category in this year's Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Paulsen was named as a finalist, one of 15 in August, which has now been reduced to the five category winners.

The "Category Winners" are:
- Doug Bartlett, Cabco Group: Technology, Communication & Biotechnology
- Chris Paulsen, House of Travel: Retail, Consumer & Industrial Products
- Richard Taylor, Weta Workshop & Digital: Services, including Financial, Business, Property and Arts.
- Mike McDonald, Mactec Aerospace International: Young Entrepreneur
- Bob Robertson, Infinity Investment Group: Master Entrepreneur

Paulsen said he had been thrilled to have been named as one of the 15 finalists in August.

"I feel quite over-whelmed to be honest. Being named as a finalist was a real buzz but to have been awarded one of the categories is just fantastic for House of Travel."

The unique ownership model and the company's focus on technology had been stand out features, in what some people are calling the toughest line up in the award's history.

"We have an outstanding group of finalists who represent entrepreneurship in this country at its finest. Each has an incredible story behind their success," says Roger Hatrick-Smith, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Director.

Paulsen said he was proud that House of Travel was still 100% Kiwi owned and operated.

"I am hugely patriotic and I get a huge kick out of seeing people grow and develop as part of the House of Travel team. I have no desire to float House of Travel, but I am passionate about seeing House of Travel become a great New Zealand company, something that is bigger than all of us, something to leave behind for future generations."

The average House of Travel turnover per outlet is three times that of other New Zealand and Australian travel agencies. Paulsen says this has a great deal to do with the partnership model they put in place when the company was established in 1987.

"There is no doubt their ownership model has been a driver in our success. Forming strong long-term partnerships with their owner operators is an ongoing priority for House of Travel and this has resulted in a level of trust, which is two-way."

Each House of Travel outlet is owned 50% by the local owner operator and 50% by Holdings, which provides the outlets with support in various areas such as finance, marketing, product and HR.

Being a private company has meant House of Travel has gone very much under the radar Paulsen remarked.

"Being a private company has had its advantages but few people know we are ranked in the top ten privately owned companies for turnover and are forecasting to do $700m this year up 21% from $580m last year."

In 2002 House of Travel built in 100 days its own booking website, the only one in the world which provides customers with all the flight options available, while still providing customers with back up and support from an outlet if required. has picked up a number of awards, the most recent being the 2006 NetGuide Peoples Choice Award.

The overall New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year will be selected from the five category winners at a gala awards dinner on the 11th October in Auckland.


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