Helloworld Travel’s Executive Director, Cinzia Burnes, last night addressed a room full of Preferred Supplier Partners to talk about Helloworld’s game plan and advantages over OTAs.
The event, held at the Ivy, saw Helloworld welcome delegates ahead of the Australian Tourism Exchange this week, and say a big thanks for their support.
“We’ve had a lot of work going into the last twelve months to try and align the different ways of doing business,” Burnes told the crowd of over 130 partners.
Burnes said while there’s been a lot of changes and focus on inward operations, the “business has kept growing”, largely thanks to the partners.
“I would be lying if I said the last twelve months had been easy,” Burnes admitted.
“We’re still working with two different systems that aren’t necessarily talking to each other, and it’s taken a bit longer then we would’ve liked.
“But we’re looking in our rear-view mirror and learning for the future.
“We’ve learned a lot of lessons and set up a lot of new processes for the coming year, and the demand from our historic markets overseas continues to be strong.”
Switching gears to address the OTA business model, Burnes stressed, “There’s a lot of people confused about what we do and our business model compared to the algorithms of OTAs”.
“We have people handling our bookings rather than algorithms.
“We also have clients overseas, and they’re interested in our recommendations. They don’t want a list of 500 hotels and then have to do a search.
“And while no one is ignoring the impact OTAs are having on behavioural patterns and purchasing patterns, we do have a very different business model.
“And that’s good to remember,” Burnes added. “We still need to keep doing what we’re doing. We still need to connect.”
“We’re interested in continuing our strong partnerships with the understanding that we service important markets.
“We have travel agents all over the world, and to all the touring operators here, you give a lot of work to local people.
“To those people that said inbound tour operators would be dead in ten years, they’re wrong.
“There are certainly challenges, but our job and focus is our clients. We make sure they’re still competitive in the marketplace and we need your help to do that as well.”