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Top website expands its offering

Top website expands its offering

House of Travel's award winning website has been further developed to now offer customers the ability to book their long-haul travel online. was launched offering all the flights domestically, trans-Tasman and to the South Pacific in September 2004. Within a short space of time it was the most popular travel site, collecting awards from Hitwise in 2005 and 2006 and the Supreme award at the Computerworld Excellence Awards 2005 for "Overall excellence in the use of IT".

Ecommerce director Hilary Lewis said people were becoming very comfortable booking online, hence the next step to offer the opportunity for people to book travel to more countries.

"Our new long-haul booking engine involves travel to 95 destinations around the world, with 21 airlines to choose from. This makes the most comprehensive flight search engine in New Zealand and the only one covering every airline that flies from New Zealand, including those only available on the web. You can even book a one-way flight"

Lewis said the goal was to provide Kiwis with the most choice possible.

"We have invested considerable time and money to provide access to all the options. No other local flight search engine has the same coverage or is as easy to use and the technology was all built here in New Zealand. So it is designed especially for Kiwis by Kiwis." has seen traffic to the site double in the past 12 months with sales more than doubling.

Lewis puts this down to the site becoming better known and the uniqueness of having back up from one of the 90 House of Travel retail outlets if required.

"Who doesn't like choice? And that is exactly what the site offers all the flights and of course we are independent. There's no way you are ever going to find a Qantas or a Royal Brunei flight on the Air New Zealand site. It is unique to offer the back up and service that we do plus the fact if you book online and then decide to add to your booking, the outlet you selected can help."

Winning the 2006 NetGuide Peoples Choice Award for the best New Zealand Travel site earlier this year, is the award House of Travel is most proud of.

"We've developed this technology to ensure our customers can book travel with House of Travel when and where they want to. So to win an award that is based on what the public think is the ultimate, especially when we were up against Air New Zealand."

House of Travel's long-haul booking engine is already ahead of budgeted bookings after a soft launch earlier this month and they estimate their first year target will be reached within its first six months.

"Again it shows us that consumers are very happy and confident to buy travel online with us. For example we've had business class bookings to South America valued at around $15,000."

Lewis still believes there is a future for travel agents but remaining relevant to customers is essential.

"A trip which involves multiple stops and added activities such as cruises, coach tours, biking through a country and the like are much better coordinated by a travel agent. However if you are travelling to stay with family in LA or Singapore, they are picking you up and all you need is a flight, then booking it online, on a trusted site that can give you all the options may be just what you need."


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