Local Travel Site Takes On Big Players To Support Domestic Tourism
A Christchurch-based travel site has launched this week with a no-commission model, prompting a David and Goliath battle against overseas online booking agents.
Having already listed over 4,000 local New Zealand businesses, Hopskip.nz is backed by three Kiwi tech entrepreneurs, the original founders of Holidayhouses.co.nz and the founder of Builderscrack.co.nz.
Hopskip co-founder Bill Stalker says they’re shaking up the conventional ways of booking adventure by encouraging people to book directly with local operators.
“It’s unfair on New Zealanders, especially right now, that commissions from domestic bookings will continue to bypass our tourism industry into the pockets of large, overseas online travel sites,” says Mr Stalker.
“We’re developing a travel hub where people can find accommodation, experiences and recommendations in one place, but enable direct bookings with the local operators to bring back some of the personal connection we’ve somehow lost along the way.
“It’s been a background project of ours for some years; and while operators have been keen to adopt a new status quo, people needed a reason to make the change and we believe that time has come.”
Hopskip. doesn’t charge booking fees or commissions, and operators and presently all listings are free.
In the future, to keep the site running, listings can be upgraded, but Mr Stalker says right now they’re focused on getting New Zealand tourism back on its feet.
“These times have really made us think about what’s important in life, and if we start off by giving all operators free access they can pass that value onto their customers for a memorable experience - everyone wins,” says Mr Stalker.
“When the restrictions are lifted, we can do our bit to support local by exploring our own beautiful backyard.
“This is just the start of our journey and we have big plans for the future of Hopskip.nz.”
The site is one of many initiatives that have been brought forward in a bid to reignite New Zealand’s tourism industry.