‘Game changer’ in travel industry
by Justine Tyerman
Travel agents worldwide can now confidently access the luxury holiday house/villa market as an alternative option to hotels and resorts, thanks to the ingenuity of a Kiwi entrepreneur.
Fear of bogus properties, insecure funds and variable standards of accommodation have always kept the high-end private home rental sector firmly in the too-hard-and-scary basket for travel agents to book for their clients.
But the launch of a new technology product by Wellington-based Campbell Bevan at the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes has brought about a radical change in the holiday accommodation landscape. A guest of Tourism New Zealand at the prestigious annual event in France, Amazing Accom managing director Mr Bevan introduced travel agents to a white label online booking and itinerary-building software.
"The first of its kind in the world, the technology will enable agents to book holiday houses/villas for their clients in a safe and standardised online environment,” said Mr Bevan whose company Amazing Accom specialises in luxury house/villa accommodation.
"They can be confident their clients’ funds are 100 percent secure, and cancellation policies and changes to bookings are transparent and fair to all parties . . . as well as guaranteeing the agents a healthy commission.
“Amazing Accom holiday houses and villas are hand-selected and reviewed, and therefore guaranteed to be of the highest standard. They are professionally managed and fully serviced just like a hotel,” said Mr Bevan.
The term “white label” means when a travel agent uses the secure booking site, there is no reference to Amazing Accom branding. The property names and URL are blank allowing the agent to apply his or her own branding. The client cannot bypass the agent and go directly to Amazing Accom or the property owner. There is therefore no risk to the travel agent of losing his or her client.
Amazing Accom holds the client’s funds securely until the day after check-in and also offers round-the-clock free, independent, expert advice in case problems should arise.
One of four Kiwi tourism companies that travelled to the four-day Cannes event at the invitation of Tourism New Zealand, Amazing Accom was in high demand with the international luxury travel buyers.
“Travel agents from around the world - Russia, China, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada and the United States - have already signed up and are now accessing 2000-plus luxury houses and villas in 21 different countries for their high-end clients,” said Mr Bevan.
“Given a choice, why would discerning travellers book hotel rooms and share facilities with thousands of others when they can have an entire fabulous house or villa to themselves with a private swimming pool, tennis court, beach, chef, housemaids and other amazing facilities for a cheaper per-person, per-night rate,” said Mr Bevan.
"We want travel agents to be aware of the tremendous potential of this new technology. This is a game-changer.
"Amazing Accom is the only company in the world to have this innovative smart software - and it is proprietary."
So what's in it for Amazing Accom and the owners and property managers of accommodation who list online with the company?
"Our properties get significantly more bookings worldwide, and we increase the total holiday house/villa market - something we are passionate about," said Mr Bevan.