Style speaks with Sarah Crowe from House of Travel (HOT) High Street Lanes about the new central-city office and the interactive ‘dream station’.
How important is it for HOT to be back in the city centre?
We are very excited to be back in the central city and supporting an integral part of the Christchurch rebuild. Being the first tenants to move into the new innovation precinct, High Street Lanes, reflects our commitment to the importance of innovation, technology and growth.
What is the ‘dream station’?
This is the first interactive 55-inch touchscreen table for Cantabrians to explore destinations and accommodation information collated by our 450 House of Travel consultants. You can access street views of the hotel, and its surroundings and explore unknown destinations to get a feel for the area. Phase two, that will get rolled out early next year, will give our customers the option to access the dream station from the comfort of their homes, accessing sightseeing options to add to their existing booking.
What has been the most rewarding travel experience the team has put together?
We had a situation where our client was booked to attend a wedding as best man, on the day his flight arrived into Los Angeles. Due to an early morning airline cancellation, he was left stranded at Christchurch International Airport. The airline was insistent that he be rerouted via Melbourne with an overnight stay. After hours of trying to get himself rebooked, he phoned us in a panic. We were immediately on the phone to our airline representative, and, after much perseverance, managed to get him to be rerouted and onto the next available direct flight. He arrived just in time for the wedding reception and was able to give his speech!
How much travel do the agents do themselves?
Our agents travel a minimum of once a year, if not more. In the past 12 months, our team of five have been to Canada, USA, Fiji, Tahiti, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Bali, Japan, Maldives, Singapore, Thailand, England, Croatia, and Czech Republic. In these trips, we see numerous hotels as well as experience all the sights of the destination, giving us the latest updated information for our clients which is shared amongst the team.
To where should we be planning our next holiday?
Europe is hot at the moment. Fares have never been lower with new airlines entering the New Zealand market forcing fierce competition. There are 15 airlines to choose from when travelling to Europe. Business class has dropped in price by 17% this year. I’ve also seen some fabulous cruise pricing through the Mediterranean and Baltic areas. With the excellent exchange rates out there at the moment, it’s a great time to book your holiday and have an exciting trip to look forward to for winter 2017.