The team recently went to Fiordland for our 6-monthly get-together. It's a time when we share the lessons of the last season and plan what we're putting forward for the next. As well as a time to bond. And - very importantly - we use the time to research a particular region.
This time it was Fiordland - which is all I'm going to say at the moment. We're working on a number of interesting initiatives and will announce those in due course.
But more importantly I would like to draw your attention to that "research" angle. We're not the only ones to research what we do - there are a number of ethical hard-working companies out there. But I have been astounded as to how many people in this industry book things "sight unseen". They masquerade as having experience and then just hit Google to fill the gaps. Or just book accommodation and leave lots of "free days".
There was another company recently quoted in the press - actually, as it's already in the public domain I think it's fine being more precise. The article is here and has Swain Travel telling the world that luxury clients can come to New Zealand and not meet New Zealanders. It's not clear if he's referring to his own or other peoples clients. But I remember this sort of thing happening 15 years ago when we started out, and something we have long poked fun at as the mark of a lazy operator. I state categorically - there are hundreds of excellent New Zealand operators who with us have delighted overseas clients. There are unfortunately thousands of overseas travel providers who can't be bothered finding them. That's the real issue.
So research guys. OK, the market doesn't value research too much at the moment. More about that in another article.... But research is still very important to do this country and the people within it some justice.