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Travel Greater Drawcard than Buying a House

Travel Greater Drawcard than Buying a House

12 November 2007 - A recent Australian study shows young Australians classified as part of Generation Y, are less likely to own a home and more likely to owe money in larger proportions than their parents and grandparents.

Unsure of whether that stands true in New Zealand, Brent Thomas retail director for New Zealand’s largest privately owned travel company House of Travel, confirms that Generation Y is a serious part of the company’s marketing strategy given their propensity to spend now.

“The infamous Kiwi OE is still alive and well but there are other Kiwis in the Generation Y age group who are working and holding down good jobs or studying for further qualifications who don’t want to miss out on the overseas experience.”

Thomas says as a result they are more likely to put off purchasing a home, renting or staying at home instead, to allow them to travel.

“Whether it is meeting up with friends overseas already on their OE or a couple or a group travelling together from New Zealand, they definitely have a common driver of “do it now not later.

“They have a real sense of “let’s see what happens” if they like a place why not stay or, if they don’t why stay longer than you need to. They love technology and are completely comfortable booking and researching on the Internet. They are keen to try anything, immersing themselves in everything the destination has to offer, changing plans at the last minute if it means taking advantage of something exciting.”

The Roy Morgan Research study shows that money isn’t an issue it is more how they spend it that differs and Thomas agrees.

“They tend to have the latest mobiles and iPods when it comes to travel, they love to eat out and they love to shop. They will take a coach or site seeing tours, go to theme parks and even a cruise but only if it suits their style and works with what their mates want to do also.”

Thomas said Generation Y had not been a typical House of Travel customer but the trend was reversing as a result of their booking website.

“They love the fact they are getting a good deal so using our technology which allows them access to all the flight options and being able to select what they want, mixing and matching airlines appeals and as a result they are booking with us online.”

Thomas said online bookings now accounted for 24% of House of Travel’s Group transactions and 80% of its customers were new to the brand, of which 72% were classified as Generation Y. Other big movers were females aged 25-45 years old.

“We estimate around 50% of our transactions will be via by 2010. Ironically since we launched our booking website late in 2004 our outlet turnover has grown 20% year on year so online has been fantastic for the brand overall.”

House of Travel said Generation Y was taken seriously with the introduction of brochures that catered directly to the young OE traveller, viral marketing campaigns and the recent soft launch of their community website “Tripstar”.

“The other standout characteristic of Generation Y is their love of being part of a community. Having somewhere to share their thoughts, experiences, photos and generally to keep in touch with mates and meet new ones. is a website which allows them to blog about their holiday experiences, tell others what was fantastic, what not to bother with, the best place to have cocktails in the world – whatever takes their fancy.”

Thomas says in the near future Tripstar will host technology which will allow people to download, store and display their photos and participate in forums regarding destinations.

“Research tells us that New Zealanders travel differently to any other nation which led us to believe we needed to create a site which allows Kiwi ideas, thoughts and opinions to be shared with other Kiwis.”

Statistics show more New Zealanders are travelling than ever before, Thomas said this trend is set to continue in 2008.

“Our UK/Europe bookings for next year are nine percent up on this time last year and 2007 was a record year for us, which we put down to the Rugby World Cup.

“Travel is part of the Kiwi lifestyle; it is something most New Zealand children have experienced by the time they hit double figures. The make up of our population is certainly having an influence but with the lowest unemployment figures (less than two percent of the population) for years; disposable income is at an all time high.”


The House of Travel Group has forecasted turnover in of $800m for 2007, it has 90 retail outlets (with specialist corporate, adventure and leisure and group 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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