Jun 2013

Local Travel Agency Represents South Island for Top National Award

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A local travel agency is the proud South Island representative in the top five up for a prestigious national industry award.

Lakers_FullTeam_2013A local travel agency is the proud South Island representative in the top five up for a prestigious national industry award.

House of Travel Lakers Invercargill is in the running for the Best Travel Agency Retail in a Single Location Award, which recognises the single retail agency that demonstrates the best practice in agency management and service delivery nationwide.

The award is part of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ (AFTA) National Travel Industry Awards for New Zealand.

House of Travel Lakers Invercargill owner Tony Laker, who owns the outlet with his wife Tracey, says he is thrilled to be holding the banner for the South Island and House of Travel at the upcoming national prize giving.

“We want to win this and bring it home for Southland and the company,” he says. “We’re eager to show the travel industry what we’ve got!”

An online voting process from airlines, coach touring companies, cruise companies and other suppliers determined the travel outlet’s place in the final few, following its initial nomination alongside 12 others in its category.

Tracey says the outlet’s success is owed in part to its team’s close relationships with clients.

“We share extremely good relationships with our customers. They become our friends,” she says.

“We’re also a very diverse company in that we don’t just book holidays – we also host our Southerners Escorted Tours, which see us travel the world with our clients. This sets us apart from a majority of other travel outlets, enabling us to give our customers real hands-on assistance,” says Tracey.

In fact, the couple were hosting one of their Southerners Tours in Canada and Alaska when they were due to do a presentation explaining why they should win their category to a judging panel in Auckland on May 27.

However, the pair are so determined to win, that Tony decided to make a quick trip back and forth in record time.

“I caught a bus, took three flights and a boat ride to make it to the interview and back,” he says. “It meant more than two days’ travelling and more than 23,000 kilometres of flying, but I was committed to doing the presentation and then rejoining our clients straight away.”

The travel agency was nominated by House of Travel, which could nominate just one of their outlets nationwide to represent the group in the Single Location category.

The CEO for House of Travel, Mark O’Donnell, says he is proud for the Invercargill outlet to be representing House of Travel in this award category.

“This House of Travel outlet is led by fantastic owners and has a high quality standard of customer service and client satisfaction. The team at Lakers look after the travellers in Southland extremely well, with their impressive level of knowledge and experience, not to mention the unique offering they provide with their tours,” he says.

The winners of the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards for New Zealand will be announced at an awards evening in Auckland on July 3.

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Mark Devlin
With more than 20 years in public relations and marketing Mark Devlin has an impressive portfolio of clients who trust him with their brands. His ability to translate a commercial story into an informative and engaging business piece has seen his clients secure cut-through media coverage, position them as market leaders in their respective fields and grow their businesses substantially.
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