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Transition to digital helps House of Travel contain costs

Transition to digital helps House of Travel contain costs and increase productivity

One of New Zealand’s leading travel agencies, House of Travel, is taking advantage of the latest digital communication solutions provided by Gen-i to increase productivity and cut costs across their nationwide network of offices.

Dave Veronese, House of Travel’s CIO, says the company has benefited from improved staff performance and significant cost savings since initiating a move from a traditional system to a combination of Gen-i Voice Connect and Microsoft Lync 2013.

Voice Connect is Gen-i’s Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) voice communication service that delivers high audio quality, connects with either an in-house or hosted PBX and can be readily integrated with other ICT services.

“When we first looked at switching to Voice Connect and deploying Lync as our corporate PBX, there were few other organisations in New Zealand that had made the transition,” Veronese explains. “While that puts us at the bleeding edge of new technologies, it does give access to the very latest functionality and ensures we are able to take advantage of new releases and advances for many years to come.”

“We’re passionate about seeking out and sharing new travelling experiences for our New Zealand customers, and Voice Connect enables us to increase the speed at which our people can communicate and access information anywhere and at any time, to help them achieve that goal.”

Veronese says he is focused helping the business to innovate and grow and make its stores modern workspaces that blend the latest mobility and collaboration technologies.

He says staff in the House of Travel stores particularly appreciate the removal of clunky desk phones, which have largely been replaced by wireless Bluetooth VoIP headsets for a more tidy and modern workspace. They also benefit from the growing use of video conferencing that Voice Connect supports.

“Our staff are enjoying the mobility and flexibility that comes with this new way of working, such as being able to work from home, participate in video meetings remotely and easily make calls while travelling,” says Veronese.

House of Travel operates under a joint venture business model, with Dave’s team providing ICT services that support 1150 people across 80 sites, including retail stores, corporate division Orbit Travel, online sales and the central holdings company.

In 2013, he converged all of the business’ IT and telecommunications contracts and negotiated a group solution that would deliver cost savings and allow them to quickly rollout new technologies.

Following a competitive tender, House of Travel renewed its voice, mobile and data services contract with Gen-i in January 2013, extending their long standing relationship by another three years. It supplements an existing contract with Revera, now part of Gen-i, for its data centre hosting in Christchurch and Auckland.

With ten stores migrated by the end of 2013, and another dozen keen to transition, Veronese says the pipeline is growing as the House of Travel stores hear about the benefits of the new voice and unified communications platform. “We met our target of migrating 100 users by the end of 2013, and expect to easily exceed our target of 350 users by the end of 2014,” he concludes.


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