Increasing local demand for trips to more adventurous and ‘off the beaten track’ destinations is helping drive continued success for an Ashburton travel agency.
House of Travel Ashburton owner/operator Maxine Whiting says sales have been strong in recent months, with a demand for more intrepid travel to destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia and India contributing to growth for the store - which was named the top performing House of Travel medium outlet last year.
To accommodate the increasing number of store visitors and their need for information and inspiration, Whiting says the Canterbury store interior has undergone an extensive refit.
The update, which is the first for nearly two decades, has created a more modern and informative experience for locals who are increasingly seeking trips off the beaten track.
“While many customers are booking at the moment for UK and Europe in 2015, a traditionally strong market for us, places like Vietnam, Cambodia and even India are becoming very popular recently,” says Whiting.
“We have noticed people in our area are becoming a lot more adventurous than they used to be. They don’t want to be doing the usual on their trips – they want to get off the beaten track and get a real cultural experience of destinations that we didn’t see as much desire for in previous years.”
Whiting says the experienced team at House of Travel Ashburton are booking a lot of family trips to the South Pacific, Australia and UK and Europe, including river boat cruises in Europe. However, they are also booking Asian destinations for those looking for something less traditional.
“Clients are going cruising on the Mekong River from Vietnam to Cambodia, or a combination of cultural and family adventures plus beach holidays in Vietnam,” says Whiting. “We’ve also had a couple of clients go on Food Experience trips to India.
“We are excited to be moving into these areas more. Two of our team members have recently taken their families to Vietnam, so their experience and knowledge is proving very useful,” she says. “We’ve got all stages of age and life on the team here, so they are all able to offer a different perspective to our customers.”
The refit has helped to create an even more inspiring environment for customers, and has also rejuvenated the store in the midst of substantial rebuilding throughout Ashburton’s CBD as a result of earthquake damage.
“There is a lot of rebuilding happening here as a result of the 2011 earthquakes, which is a real positive to come from a negative situation,” says Whiting. “While our new look isn’t related to that, it is nice to be able to offer a fresh new space to our local customers – and it’s exciting for our team to be planning these very different trips and adventures for them in it.”
For more information, see www.houseoftravel.co.nz/hot-stores/ashburton.