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HoT Appoints Strategic Destination Managers

House of Travel Appoints Strategic Destination Managers

House of Travel's wholesale arm Travelplan has recently created new 'destination manager' roles that provide a more strategic focus for each destination group.

David Fordyce, managing director of Travelplan, says it was a need to become more 'customer-centric' that prompted the introduction of the new roles.

"The travel industry changes so rapidly and we wanted to ensure we were structuring our business to meet the changing requirements of customers. In order to remain relevant and provide the necessary services to the group and to customers, we need to be innovative in how we source, supply and deliver product."

Fordyce says House of Travel looked at each destination group (defined in regions such as South Pacific, Australia, Asia, etc) and saw that each was effectively a business in its own right and therefore needed to be managed accordingly. The destination manager positions can be likened to an owner operator of a small business. Product managers, considered a more traditional role, will report directly to the destination managers and the two will have clearly defined and separate responsibilities.

"We prefer to be a leader in the industry by predicting changes and customer needs rather than reacting to them. Traditionally there has been some separation – on the one hand there is a product team sourcing product and securing contracts, then there are the consultants, trying to find the right product for their customers. The new structure will bring these two groups closer together, which will mean better product procurement and delivery and a better match, so customers are really getting the product that's right for them. It also means that product managers will have the time and support to get more hands-on with suppliers and partners."

The newly appointed destination managers are:
Paula Sundin – Asia
Julia Paley – UK & Europe
Lynda Cairns – South Pacific
Linda Bridgland - Australia
Wendy Meyer – USA & Canada

Existing Cruise product manager Chris Smith and Adventure product manager Shelley Adkins will step up to roles that combine product manager and destination manager responsibilities. As a result of internal promotions, House of Travel currently has a vacancy for South Pacific Product Manager. ENDS

The House of Travel Group has forecasted turnover in 2006 in excess of $700m, it has 90 retail outlets (with specialist corporate and leisure travel outlets) throughout New Zealand, its own award winning aggregated booking website and two wholesale companies (both inbound and outbound). It employs in excess of 1,100 people and is privately owned (by New Zealander Chris Paulsen) and operated since it was established in 1987.


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