The first TRAVELtech New Zealand conference in Auckland on June 25 comes at a crucial time for the local travel industry, which is under pressure to innovate and meet the challenges of globalisation.

Conference director Martin Kelly said NZ travel companies must increase their online focus and investment to effectively compete with cashed up international rivals and meet consumer expectations.

“New Zealand is unique – it’s a very different market to any that I’ve seen and is full of opportunities for companies that want to take their chances,” said Mr Kelly.

Mr Kelly said the current mobilisation of the web presents the ideal opportunity for travel companies to reset.

“With the shift to a multi-screen world now is definitely the time for companies to upgrade their online and technology presence.”

He praised the high level of innovation displayed by several Kiwi travel companies but said many local travel businesses risked getting left behind due to a lack of focus and under-investment.

“There are some extremely innovative companies working in New Zealand while online adoption and usage rates by consumers are very high,” Mr Kelly said.

“In fact, New Zealand’s online consumer is a savvy as any in the world.

“But in the course of my research for this conference it’s clear there’s concern that many New Zealand travel companies do not have a clear online focus and are under-investing in their web and technology capabilities compared with other markets such as the US, Europe and Australia.

“This is commercial suicide – for some it may be a case of innovate or die.”

“The future is all online or in the cloud and laggards run the risk of not keeping up with the either the consumer or the international brands that now dominate New Zealand’s online retail sales.

“No doubt there are some big opportunities going begging – who is going to step up?”

Mr Kelly, who has run TRAVELtech in Australia since 1999, said he wanted to test the Kiwi travel market with a challenging program featuring the latest in online thinking and practice.

Speakers include top executives from Expedia, Google, HomeAway, Trivago, Experian Hitwise, Trade Me, Sabre Pacific, Accor Pacific, Mantra Group, Online Republic, THL, Serko, Tourism New Zealand, Revinate, #whywellington and Mantra Group.

Mr Kelly promised an engaging, entertaining day featuring a program packed with issues, panels, debate , data and analysis.

Everything delegates need to future-proof their online business.

And great speakers, including:

  • Mike Ballantyne, Co-Founder, Online Republic
  • Daniel Bridges, Head of Satellites, Trade Me
  • Sydney Burdick, Global PR and Social Media, Trivago
  • Wladimir Chagas, Senior Insights Analyst, Experian Hitwise
  • Keith Chilek, Chief Technology Officer, Tourism Holdings
  • Andrew Fraser, Director of Marketing, Tourism New Zealand
  • Darrin Grafton, Chief Executive Officer, Serko
  • David Hamblin, Senior Director Mkt Mgt AP, Expedia
  • Andrew Hodges, Head of Revenue NZ and Fiji, Accor Pacific
  • Paula Maxwell, Director of Trade Sales, Mantra Group
  • Dougal Mckenzie, Industry Head – Travel, Google Australia & NZ
  • Fergus Park, Head of Product, Amadeus IT Pacific
  • Jon Randles, Head of Talking, Mosh Social Media
  • Anton Stanish, Regional Director Australia/NZ,
  • Nigel Taylor, Country Manager NZ, Sabre Pacific
  • Nicole Wiener, Director of Sales Asia Pacific, Revinate
  • Ben Woodward, Social Media Strategist and Founder, #whywellington

Founded in 1999, TRAVELtech has an outstanding track record with an international reputation for strong programs, real information, entertaining speakers and excellent networking.

This is the first edition of TRAVELtech to be held outside Australia.

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