Agents & operators develop Coronavirus strategy

Hero Agents & Operators develop Coronavirus strategy

 

We wish to applaud Hero travel agents and operators for providing holidaymakers with a 2-year window to complete their travels, without fees and without fuss.

In preparation for the ongoing, commercial effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, Hero agents have agreed unanimously, that where possible, customers will be encouraged to reschedule their travel plans, rather than cancel trips altogether.

Working together, these agents aim to secure future-bookings for our industry partners to help us all emerge from this situation swiftly and stronger than ever.

Travel operators and suppliers have agreed that via Hero, Agents can now re-issue customers with flexible, open-dated tickets with an extended validity of 24-months. This provides customers with an additional year to recover, regroup and save funds before continuing their travels.

Congratulations on a smart initiative to help secure our industry!

 


Hero upgrades UX with eye-tracking

Hero upgrades UX with eye-tracking

Hero has teamed up with Sydney-based user experience research agency, UXbridge to enhance its UX design.

At Hero, we provide travel agents & resellers with industry-leading technology to supercharge their sales. In line with this, we regularly engage our agency and vendor partners to test new features and suggest ways to improve our products and services.

Taking this to the next level, we’ve engaged the experts at UXbridge to analyse Hero’s user interface design and propose valuable research findings.

Using eye-tracking technology, visual heat maps and interviews with Hero users, UXbridge can uncover subconscious behavioural insights that are otherwise virtually impossible to identify. Together, we’ll use these findings to enhance our user experience.

To learn more about the UX and eye tracking services provided by UXbridge visit: uxbridge.com.au


Taronga Zoo selects Hero as tech partner

Taronga Zoo selects Hero as technology partner

We’re delighted to announce Hero’s technology partnership with Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia appointed Hero to develop technology to power accommodation bookings at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo, including Taronga Sydney’s new exclusive eco retreat – the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga.

This is Hero’s first Government partnership and involves two of Australia’s best rated tourist attractions, with over 2 million visitors every year.

Taronga can now sell a range of accommodation, activity and physical products on its consumer facing website, linked via Hero to various internal and third party reservations and accounts systems. Products can be sold ‘live’ or as personalised gift certificates for redemption via the Taronga website at a later date.

“Last year Taronga staff & wildlife delighted >38,000 overnight visitors across our two zoos. After years of planning, (and a few hurdles) the new ‘Wildlife Retreat at Taronga’ is officially opened! On-site research has shown an overnight stay at Taronga increases a guests intention to change their lifestyle to protect wildlife from 48% to 71%. The Retreat also provides a new revenue stream that goes directly back into our work. I can promise there is nothing like it anywhere in the world – a truly unique Australian wildlife experience.” said Cameron Kerr, Director and Chief Executive, Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

Taronga Zoo cares for over 4000 animals from over 350 species, many of which are threatened. Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo participate in regional and global conservation breeding programs to establish insurance populations for species threatened in the wild. Taronga operates two wildlife hospitals that treat and rehabilitate injured native wildlife as well as providing best practice care for the animals at its Zoos. Taronga creates transformational experiences that empower people to change their attitudes and behaviours and achieve positive outcomes for wildlife.

We’re honoured to work in partnership with such an amazing organisation!

For more information about Taronga’s conservation initiatives, visit: https://taronga.org.au


G Adventures, supporting entrepreneurs

We'd like to put a shout-out to G Adventures, in recognition of an amazing initiative which supports business development opportunities for ex-employees worldwide. Yep, that's what we said, ex-employees!

Most great companies have career development strategies in place for employees. However, until now, we knew none that actively developed policies to support staff when they find themselves looking for a new challenge.

Being a tour guide is a tough gig! Living a nomadic lifestyle with weeks or months away from friends and family inevitably leads to burnout at some stage. Amongst other tour companies, this is often an awkward subject. Energy levels fade over time, steps are taken to boost morale, but over time productivity generally slips again, and there's little option but to terminate the guides employment.

G Adventures recognised this back in 2015 and wanting to support its best guides, it launched the G Values Fund. It's a smart initiative that allows tour guides (or in G's case, it's Chief Experience Officers or CEOs) who are at the tail end of their careers to continue working with the company in a different capacity: as entrepreneurs.

CEOs can apply for a low-interest loan to start a tourism-related business that provides value and branded experiences for G Adventures customers. Through funding and mentorship, the G Values Fund  provides an opportunity for CEOs to start a business and experience a whole new level of freedom within the G community.

It's a great idea - we love it!

 

To learn more about the G Values Fund, visit: https://gvaluesfund.com and if you think you have what it takes to be a G Adventures CEO, visit: https://www.gadventures.com.au/careers/tour-leaders/


Meet the Heroes at SydneyFacile

Meet the Heroes at SydneyFacile

At Hero, we love working with innovative companies that pioneer great ideas and strive to do things differently. A great example is Sydney-based travel agency, SydneyFacile who cater to a niche market and support amazing charity programs to help ‘give back’.

SydneyFacile’s founders Yan Martinez and Mickael Lechalier (pictured) launched their business 2.5 years ago, after realising there was no French-speaking travel agency catering to young French working-holidaymakers visiting Australia. SydneyFacile created a range of arrival packages dedicated to the French-speaking market.

The business quickly evolved into full service travel agency, helping customers arrive safely, find accommodation and employment and arrange onward travel across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

One of the things that really sets SydneyFacile apart is its charity partnership with Buy 1 Give 1 (B1G1). Yan: “We believe that every business has the responsibility and the power to change lives by simple acts of kindness. Our partnership with B1G1 enables us to make high impact donations to many people in need”.

When customers make bookings with SydneyFacile, part of the money they spend automatically goes to helping someone in need. So far they have been able to donate 27,660 days of access to life-saving water to families in need in Cambodia as well as 145 days of computer education to children in need in Australia.

SydneyFacile’s target market is mainly French-speaking travellers, aged 18 to 35 from France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada. In saying this, they have recently launched SydneyFacile Plus, dedicated to the over-forties, couples and families.

“We live and breathe travel!” says Mickael. “The moment we decided to head down this path, our efforts have been focused on getting to know the people behind the products we offer. Being able to tell a story to our customers is essential. Having a strong relationship with suppliers and being able to experience the products that they offer is very important. Our team has just returned to Sydney after 3 and a half weeks on the East Coast, where they met up with suppliers and partners and tried their products, filmed everything to be able to show to the community what they can expect to see and experience.”

SydneyFacile recently partnered up with Hero. Yan: “Hero is easy to use, transparent, very approachable and very responsive. It’s a one-stop-shop perfect for the travel industry. We love Hero’s e-quote option. A simple and easy way to deliver a very professional itinerary to customers. This would normally take ages to prepare. But somehow, Hero manages to put this together at the click of a button. We also love the fact that the supplier’s info is always listed in each product when finalising an order. It makes it very easy. No need to try to open each product individually to find the info, going back and forth.”

SydneyFacile is growing rapidly and Yan and Mickael couldn’t be more happy about what the company has become. “We started very small back in 2016 and look at where we are now! We are known as one of Australia’s best independent travel agencies and we’ve helped over 5,000 happy customers so far. All of our customer reviews online are 5-stars. We have a strong team who have been with us since our humble beginnings. I mean… what a fantastic achievement.”

And SydneyFacile thinks Hero can help grow their business. Yan: “Our close relationship with Hero’s team is essential for our future growth. We’re developing new products and having the right tools to be more effective as a team is essential. Being able to send regular feedback to Hero to help their development team introduce new shortcuts and booking options to streamline our agents’ and customers’ experience makes a world of difference.’’

SydneyFacile is nominated for the title of ‘Best Online Travel Agent’ in this year’s Adventure Tourism Awards Australia & NZ. Good luck Yan, Mickael and the team!


Lost in Australia, you're a Hero!

Lost in Australia, you're a Hero!

We want to put a shout out to our great friends at Lost in Australia. With the launch of a gorgeous new website, Lost in Australia now donates a percentage of its profits to organisations that protect wildlife and work to conserve the environment.

During the booking process, customers are asked to choose an organisation that they wish to support, including the Save the Orangutan Foundation, Wildlife Warriors, Sea Shepherd or Jane Goodall Foundation. Alternatively, customers can nominate a preferred charity that they wish to support instead.

The donation comes at no extra cost to Lost in Australia’s customers.

Hero and the team at Lost in Australia have worked closely since 2015 and we’re blown away by their professionalism and passion for travel.

To learn more about Lost in Australia and see the great work they’re doing to help ensure that our natural wonders are here to be shared with future generations, visit: https://lostinaustralia.org/help-us-save-wildlife


Hero partners with Aventuras Australianas

Hero partners with Aventuras Australianas

Hero is pleased to announce its latest technology partnership with Latin-America focused travel wholesaler, Aventuras Australianas.

Aventuras Australianas, the Australian-based travel marketing wholesale specialist selected Hero to provide the booking and payment technology required for its key Latin American travel agency partner, Mundo Joven Travel, mundojoven.com.

With its head office in Mexico City and over 42 retail locations throughout Latin America, Mundo Joven provides youth travellers with discounted airline tickets, accommodation, travel insurance and tours, plus a wide range of educational packages and programs worldwide. Mundo Joven’s annual consumer event ‘Mundo Joven Fest’ attracts 15,000 attendees.

Debbie Turner, director, Aventuras Australianas said: “Having worked with the team at Hero over the past four year, we knew it was the best solution for Mundo Joven’s sales team. We needed a smart and fully integrated solution to automate bookings and disbursement of payments with our preferred suppliers across Australia, New Zealand, Bali and beyond. Hero provides everything we need and more.”

Aventuras Australianas provides Mundo Joven with product product contracting services, packaging, and face to face product training across locations including Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Argentina. Taking advantage of Hero’s technology, Aventuras Australianas can also distribute product / promotional messages and videos direct to Mundo Joven’s team. 

 

Work and Holiday Visa Information for the South American Market

  • Mexico and Brazil are currently negotiating with the Australian Government for the 462 Working Holiday Visa.
  • 21K Work and Holiday visas granted in 2017-18.
  • 16% increase compared to 2016-17.
  • Top 5 destinations for Work and Holiday, USA, China, Chile, Spain & Argentina.

 

Contact Aventuras Australianas

For operators and suppliers wishing to promote their products to Mundo Joven Travel, including exposure at Mundo Joven Fest 2019, contact:

Debbie Turner +61 (0)408 856 219
Kat Noonan +61 (0)418 222 058
[email protected]
www.aventurasaustralianas.com.au


Meet us in Toronto, September 2019

Meet us in Toronto, September 2019

We absolutely love Toronto… and according to recent statistics from Tourism Toronto, so do another 43 million visitors every year! Toronto’s annual visitor spend total over $8 billion annually, fuelling over 300,000 jobs across the region.

Toronto is a popular travel destination for visitors from China (319,000 visitors p/a), the United Kingdom (263,000), India (161,000), South Korea (122,000), Japan (95,000) and Germany (93,000).

We look forward to meeting with travel industry colleagues in Toronto in September 2019. To arrange a demo of Hero (or a coffee and a chat) get in touch!


Tipi secures Hostelworld strategic investment

We wish to congratulate our great friends and colleagues at Tipi following its new strategic alliance with Hostelworld.

Tipi's industry-leading hostel check-in software and sleek smart-locks streamline the check-in process. Guests simply check-in via the Tipi app prior to arrival and access their room using their phone.

During their stay, guests can 'connect' via the Tipi app and explore (and soon book) local tours, activities and transport to their next travel destination. Hostel operators can reduce annoying check-in queues and engage electronically with guests by broadcasting messages, offers and travel deals via the Tipi app.

Hostelworld is the world's leading hostel booking platform, encompassing 17,000 hostel properties and 20,000 other forms of budget accommodation globally. As part of the investment, Hostelworld will support Tipi to achieve ambitious growth plans.

Tipi's CEO, Jack Bowcott said: "We are delighted to be partnering with Hostelworld. They are the go-to platform for hostel travellers and have a key focus on investing in the best technology for the hostel market. We started Tipi with the mission of making hostels smarter and guests happier. This investment brings us one step closer to achieving this objective, with the opportunity to bring our smart technology to a wider audience of hostels."

Congratulations to Jack, Arash and the team at Tipi!

 

For more information visit: https://tipi.travel and https://www.hostelworld.com


5 Hero agents nominated for Tourism Awards

Good luck to the 5 Hero agents nominated for the 2019 Australia & NZ Adventure Tourism Awards.

My Dream Adventures

We craft your dream adventures in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji from experience and with passion. We strive to offer off the beaten track adventures and include those little extra tips that enhance your trip.

www.mydreamadventures.com.au

Vote Now!

Dutchies Travel

Dutchies Travel helps Dutch travellers plan their trip through Australia, NZ, Fiji, Canada and the USA. Our travel agents work as digital nomads and can provide first-hand tips and tricks as they have done most of the tours and activities themselves.

www.dutchies.travel

Vote Now!

And You're Off

And You’re Off is an online travel agency specialising in customised tours for backpackers travelling around Australia. We pride ourselves on our relationships with our clients and suppliers and always strive to create the best possible outcome for both parties.

http://www.andyoureoff.com

Vote Now!

Sailing Whitsundays

Sailingwhitsundays.com is an independently owned online travel agency, run by a collective of industry operators in the Whitsundays. We bring some of the best deals direct to consumers and are committed to providing great products, impeccable customer service and all at competitive prices.

www.sailing-whitsundays.com

Vote Now!

Sydney Facile

Dedicated to French-speaking travellers aged 18 to 35, our love for travel has made us one of the top players in Australia in the French-speaking youth market field. We use our years of travel expertise to offer the best options in terms of activities, accommodation, transport and destinations throughout Australia.

www.sydneyfacile.com

Vote Now!

Hero announces integration with Checkfront

Hero is pleased to announce its latest integration with tour & activity booking reservations system, Checkfront.

With over 4500 customers in over 130 countries, integration with Checkfront will provide Hero agents with a world of new sales opportunities.

Likewise, tour, activity and rental suppliers using Checkfront will benefit from live booking bookings from Hero agents.

Checkfront works great for businesses that accept bookings in daily, nightly or hourly allotments. Suppliers using Checkfront can benefit from:

  • Manage your daily, nightly, and hourly availability in a simple calendar view
  • Maximize capacity with dynamic pricing rules for individuals, groups, and seasons
  • Collect everything from shoe size to dietary restrictions with customizable form fields
  • Grow your bottom line with gift cards, vouchers, activity packages and promotions

If you're a tour operator interested in learning more about Checkfront, visit www.checkfront.com. If you're a retail or online travel agent, hotel concierge or tourist information centre and would like to learn more about Hero, please contact us.


Meet us in Bali, August 2019

Indonesia is ranked as the ninth-fastest growing tourist sector in the world, the third-fastest growing in Asia and fastest-growing in Southeast Asia, with over 12 million visitors annually.

Both nature and culture are major components of Indonesian tourism. The natural heritage can boast a unique combination of a tropical climate, a vast archipelago of over 17,000 islands and the second longest shoreline in the world after Canada.

The beaches in Bali, diving sites in Bunaken, Mount Bromo in East Java, Lake Toba and various national parks in Sumatra are just a few examples of popular scenic destinations. These natural attractions are complemented by a rich cultural heritage that reflects Indonesia's dynamic history and ethnic diversity. One fact that exemplifies this richness is that 719 living languages are used across the archipelago.

 

We look forward to meeting with travel agents, tour operators and accommodation suppliers in Bali, Indonesia in August 2019. To find out how Hero can help supercharge your travel agency, get in touch!

 


Hero launches API with CustomLinc

Hero is pleased to announce its latest API integration with CustomLinc, a leading Ticketing, Reservation Systems and Passenger Logistics for tourism operators. 

CustomLinc provides enterprise class reservation software designed to handle high-volume ticketing and logistic operations for leading tourism organisations. Via CustomLinc, Hero agents will now benefit from live bookings with an extensive range of tour, activity, cruise, ferry & rail suppliers across Australia & New Zealand.

Hero is a sales and payment platform for booking agents of all sizes. It’s packed with features to help you increase sales, reduce administration and enhance customer service. To find request a demo of Hero, get in touch.

To learn more about CustomLinc and visit www.customlinc.com


G Adventures selects Hero as Technology Partner

World leading adventure travel company, G Adventures has selected Hero as a technology & payment partner to power optional tour and activity bookings throughout Australia & New Zealand.

Using Hero, G Adventures' chief experience officers (CEOs) can now provide their passengers with personalised itineraries of optional tours & activities, benefiting from live rates, schedules and availability. Passengers can view their itineraries online and pay securely via Hero's PCI complaint credit card hardware or online payment link. After booking, passengers receive e-tickets via email, containing everything they need to know about their activities, such pick up times and locations, what to wear and what to bring.

"We have now successfully completed trials of the Hero Activity Booking Platform in New Zealand and Australia. After analysing the results of these trials, we are happy with the performance and functionality of the booking platform and have decided that from Monday 7th January 2019 the Hero Platform will be the only method our CEO’s (Chief experience officers) use to make their on-ground optional activity bookings."  says Hugh McMillan of G Adventures.

In addition to providing a streamlined service to its passengers, G Adventures now benefits from a PCI compliant payment flow, real-time reporting capabilities and reduced administration. G Adventures' product partners receive live bookings direct into their manifest and automated payments direct into their bank account every week.

G Adventures is an adventure travel pioneer offering the planet's most awe-inspiring selection of affordable small-group tours, safaris and expeditions. G Adventures award-winning trips embrace authentic accommodation, exotic cuisine and local transport to put travellers on a first-name basis with the planet’s people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Find out more at www.gadventures.com


On the road with RatPack Travel

Many of the companies that work with Hero have amazing stories about how their business started and developed over time. A great example is RatPack Travel, a boutique backpacker travel platform operated from a pimped-out bus ‘on the road’ somewhere in Australia.

Sam Finley founded RatPack Travel in 2016, after travelling Australia and New Zealand on a 2 year working holiday. Sam had been working in the travel industry and believed there was an opportunity to create a new online travel platform for backpackers travelling Australia and New Zealand.

“My goal was to create an awesome online platform to give backpackers the personalised service, honest advice and value they deserve” said Sam.

RatPack Travel began its journey in the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay on Australia’s East Coast. Sam was working at a backpacker hostel while developing his concept for the future of the business. After approaching the owner of the hostel to ask if he could use some space in the office to open his travel shop, the RatPack Travel HQ was born.

Needing a technology solution to automate his sales, payments and reporting, Sam teamed up with Hero. “Before switching to Hero we had to book everything manually” he says. “It was all very manual and long winded! I would meet the backpacker usually in person, and I’d call the tour operators to check availability, prices and then book it in. I’d then have to record everything in a spreadsheet to track commissions and later pay suppliers. With live availability on Hero and automated payments, this has totally changed everything!’’

The beachside location and laid-back vibe in Byron Bay was exactly what Sam had in mind for RatPack, however as his business grew, larger corporates moved into the area and it was time for RatPack to find a new location. This resulted in buying and renovating a 1970’s Toyota Coaster bus which is now their very own office on wheels! It doesn’t get any more adventurous than that! ; )

Sam developed RatPack’s website to provide customers with a platform for planning and booking their trip with live rates and real-time product availability. And RatPack’s team expanded, with a crew of young, experienced travellers who want to help others get the absolute best out of their big adventure on the other side of the world.

RatPack provides its customers with a tailored travel experience and personalised itineraries to suit their travel plans, budget and time frame. “We provide tours and activities that are fun and social and have a 5 star reputation. We’re always there for their customers, before, during and after their travels and we believe in providing a personalised service” says Sam.

And Sam believes Hero has helped his business grow. “The team at Hero are legends and always help us out when we need them! Whether it is updating a product or assisting with the integration with our website. Also, the live chat feature is really useful for our team. The services offered by Hero are extremely reliable, user friendly platform, which suits our needs very well and the support offered by the team is great!”

RatPack has undergone an immense transformation, from a small travel desk in Byron Bay to a popular online travel platform with a global team. This is an accomplishment that they are (deservedly) very proud of. Their success came quicker than they had planned, but they’re very happy with the results seen so far. “We’ve learned that sometimes you have to roll with change and not resist it. Everything happens for a reason and we are the living proof of that.”

To learn more about RatPack Travel, visit www.ratpacktravel.com and check them out on Facebook and Instagram. And, if you spot the RatPack bus while on the road in Australia, call in and say Hi!


Dutchies Travel wins Adventure Tourism Awards 2018

We wish to congratulate the team at Dutchies Travel for winning the title of 'Best Online Travel Agent' at the 2018 Adventure Tourism Awards, Australia & NZ!

The Adventure Tourism Awards, held on Australia's Gold Coast recognises the outstanding achievements of tourism businesses that service the backpacker, youth and adventure travel sector across Australia and New Zealand. Dutchies Travel won the title of Best Online Travel Agent based upon consumer voting and appraisal from an independent panel of judges.

Dutchies Travel provides expert advice and independent travel support services to tens of thousands of Dutch holidaymakers every year, powered by its comprehensive website, Instagram and Facebook page and self-hosted Dutch community events. Dutchies Travel is staffed by an exceptional team of smart and savvy travel advisors who are located across the globe. The Dutchies' team go above and beyond the role of a typical online travel agency, taking care to inspire, educate and support the Dutch travel community, worldwide.

Congratulations Lisanna and the team at Dutchies Travel!

 


Hero Secure Payments powered by Square

Hero is pleased to announce the launch of Hero Secure Payments, a PCI DSS compliant customer payment solution for travel agents and resellers of tours, activities and attractions.

Hero Secure Payments enables booking agents in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and the UK to process customer payments by Visa, Visa Debit, Mastercard and Amex using PCI DSS compliant hardware, powered by Square.

Customer-facing POS stands and contactless card readers make payments faster and more secure by eliminating the requirement for agents to physically handle credit cards. Customers simply pay using their preferred payment method - mobile wallet, tap-and-go and chip cards.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance is adherence to the set of policies and procedures developed to protect credit, debit and cash card transactions and prevent the misuse of cardholders' personal information.

Hero co-founder, Dan Lucas comments "Historically, it was common for booking agents to operate without their own merchant facility. Customer credit card details were provided to suppliers over the phone or manually entered into the supplier's online reservation system. As PCI policies have changed over time this model has been deemed as non-compliant, putting agents, suppliers and their customers at risk. Hero Secure Payments has been developed to provide agents with a secure alternative."

Square is a merchant services aggregator and mobile payment company with hardware payments products, including Square Contactless and Chip Reader and Square Stand, pictured above.

In addition to advanced security and an enhanced customer experience, Hero Secure Payments provides booking agents and suppliers with a simplified accounts and payment process.

Hero remits funds to agents and suppliers with an automated weekly payment process. Suppliers receive payment of the net amount via EFT, without the need to issue invoices, chase payments and issue commission payments to agents. Agents can choose to receive commission payments into a single company bank account, or automatically divided and paid to individual sales staff.


Hero partners with Zaui

Hero has partnered with Zaui, a leading web-based activity and tour management system to connect Hero booking agents with a wide variety of new suppliers worldwide.

Zaui is a world-leading tourism reservation and management solution for tour, activity and transportation businesses. Zaui provides a technology-driven platform to run every aspect of a tourism business. Major software features include: automating bookings, connecting suppliers to Online Travel Agents such as Viator, Expedia & Hero etc, POS and mobile applications and real-time business analytics.

Hero is a sales and payment platform for booking agents of all sizes. It's packed with features to help you increase sales, reduce administration and enhance customer service. To find request a demo of Hero, get in touch.

To learn more about Zaui and visit www.zaui.com


Meet us in Tokyo, December 2018

Did you know, that during the 4 year period of 2011 to 2015, Japan's inbound tourism grew by 33 percent every year - among the fastest rates in the world. In 2015, international tourism contributed JPY 3.5 trillion (USD 35 billion) to the Japanese economy.

Recognising the value of inbound tourism, the government of Japan has set an aspirational target to double annual inbound tourism from 19 million visitors in 2015 to 40 million in 2020, and triple the annual number of visitor nights in non-metropolitan areas.

We look forward to meeting with travel agents, tour operators and accommodation suppliers in Tokyo, December 2018. To find out how Hero can help supercharge your travel agency, get in touch!

 


Hero announces partnership with Rezdy

Over 40,000 new products coming soon to Hero!

Hero is pleased to announce its latest partnership with tour & activity booking reservations system, Rezdy.

Hero agents will now benefit from instant access to over 40,000 products from 2,000 suppliers within Rezdy's worldwide supplier marketplace.

Hero co-founder, Dan Lucas says "Hero's API with Rezdy connects two of the world's leading travel software systems, providing both agents and suppliers with technology and connectivity to run their businesses with ease and efficiency."

Suppliers using Rezdy can now receive live automated bookings from Hero agents, direct into their Rezdy manifest. Suppliers manage product content, rates and inventory within Rezdy, with complete control of the agency commissions and net rates offered to Hero agents.

Dan continues "Integration with Rezdy is a crucial development in our mission to provide the world’s largest B2B marketplace of experience, transport & accommodation products. Combined with Hero's powerful cloud-based travel agent management software, travel agents can easily reduce administration and increase profitability.

"Hero and Rezdy share many core values. We're not owned by tour operators or travel agents, and we focus solely on developing smart B2B technology to empower the partners within our networks."

If you're a retail or online travel agent, hotel concierge or tourist information centre and would like to learn more about Hero, please contact us.


Hero announces MailChimp integration

Hero integrates with MailChimp for enhanced agent customisation tools.

Hero agents will now benefit from the ability to customise their customer communication templates via Hero's latest integration with MailChimp. This premium feature allows travel agents to manage their email templates with all the design customisation features available within MailChimp.

To find out more about Hero's travel agent software, feel free to contact us. To learn more about MailChimp's email template design features, click here.


Meet us in Bangkok, July 2018

Thailand has one of the most developed tourism markets in Asia. The ‘Land of Smiles’, is known for it hospitality, beautiful beaches, historical places and eco-attractions, its world-famous cuisine, good infrastructure and affordable accommodation.

Annually, Thailand welcomes over 30 million visitors and this figure is expected to surpass 40 million by 2020. Most visitors will continue to come from the Asia Pacific region (31.2 million in 2020), followed by European tourists (5.7 million in 2020).

Thailand is facing increasing competition from neighboring countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar, and in response the Thai government has made visa procedures easier. For Chinese and Indian visitors the Thai government introduced a six-month multiple entry visa and reduced the visa-on-arrival charges. In addition, for visitors from 19 countries Thailand waived visa fees, while visitors from 52 countries can stay up to 30 days in Thailand when entering via an international airport. These lenient visa policies make Thailand an attractive country for both long term tourism and short term visits.

Tourism is one of Thailand’s main economic sectors, accounting for 7% of its GDP. Revenue reached USD 71 billion in 2016. Daily tourist spending reached THB 5.100 per person last year and is expected to further increase in the coming years.

We look forward to meeting with travel agents, tour operators and accommodation suppliers in Bangkok in June / July 2018. To find out how Hero can help supercharge your travel agency, get in touch!

 


Hero partners with FareHarbor

Hero is delighted to announce its partnership with tour & activity reservation solution, FareHarbor.

Travel agents using Hero will now have access book 'live' with over 6000 new tour, activity rental and attraction suppliers across the globe. Hero's API connectivity with FareHarbor facilitates real-time rates and inventory plus live bookings and instant confirmations.

Hero co-founder, Dan Lucas says "Our partnership with FareHarbor is an exciting step forward in our mission to provide Hero booking agents with access to the world's largest B2B marketplace of tour, activity, transport & accommodation products".

Founded in Hawaii in 2013, FareHarbor's reservations solution is trusted by 6000 clients worldwide. If you’re an operator of tours, activities, rentals or attractions and would like to find out how FareHarbor & Hero can help you manage and grow online & agent bookings click here.

If you're a retail or online travel agent, hotel concierge or tourist information centre and would like to learn more about Hero, please contact us.

 

 


Meet us in London, December 2018

We look forward to meeting with travel agents, tour operators and accommodation suppliers in London, December 2018. To find out how Hero can help supercharge your travel agency, get in touch!

 


Hero partners with ProCharter

We are pleased to announce our partnership with tour reservation solution, ProCharter.

Hero agents can now access an exciting new range of tour suppliers across Australia, and book live with real-time rates and availability.

Additionally, tour operators using ProCharter's reservation software can enhance direct-to-consumer ecommerce capabilities via their own website, selling their own product range online in combination with complimentary tours, activities, accommodation and transport products from Hero's product marketplace.

To find out more, get in touch!


Meet us in Vancouver, October 2017

We look forward to meeting with travel agents, tour operators and accommodation suppliers in Vancouver in October 2017. To schedule a demonstration of Hero, to find out more about how we can help streamline your booking process, please get in touch!

 

Did you know?

  • More than 10 million people visit Vancouver every year
  • Vancouver's top five visitor markets are Canada, the US, China, UK and Australia
  • Tourism contributes over $4 billion to the Metro Vancouver economy annually and provides over 70,000 full time jobs
  • There are nearly 25,000 hotel rooms in Metro Vancouver, with over 10,000 in the downtown area
  • Vancouver gets approximately 230 cruise ship calls annually
  • More than half of BC’s tourism-related businesses are located in the Vancouver Coast and Mountains region

Meet us at WYSTC Montreal, September 2017

Following our participation within the Australia Village at WYSTC 2016 in Belgrade, Serbia, we are proud to attend WYSTC in 2017.

Now in its 26th year, the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) is the leading trade event for the global youth, student and educational travel industry.

WYSTC travels to a different destination every year to ensure that attendees get first-hand experience of the topics and trends affecting youth and student travel within the host country and/or region. WYSTC 2017 will take place in Montréal, Canada.

We look forward to meeting with agency, supplier and integration partners at this year's event!

 

 


Hero partners with SiteMinder

Hero is pleased to announce its integration with award-winning Channel Manager, SiteMinder.

Hero's link with SiteMinder enables seamless 2-way integration with over 25,000 accommodation providers in more than 160 countries worldwide. Hero agents can now benefit from live access to a growing range of new and exciting hotel and hostel accommodation providers, across the globe, while accommodation providers enjoy automated management of room availability, rates and reservations with Hero.


Want to start your own travel agency?

If you've travelled Australia on a gap year and are now considering career options, you may be inspired to work in the travel industry. One option would be to set up your own business and start a travel agency, in Australia or back home. If you think this may be for you, you’re in luck, as over the past few years, it’s become much easier to start your own backpacker travel agency.

In 2014, the Travel Agent Repeal Bill 2014 was passed, which removed the outdated licensing program which governed Australian travel agents. Since the regulatory barriers have been removed, many new boutique retail and online travel agents have emerged, offering backpackers & holidaymakers an exciting new range of options for booking tours, activities, accommodation & transport across Australia and beyond.

Many of these new travel agencies have been founded by ex-travellers; people like you, who have experienced much of what Australia has to offer and want to share their knowledge, by helping other travellers make informed choices, get a great deal and have the trip of a lifetime!

In addition to changes in the law, travel technology solutions are now more readily available, some are free to use, and they remove much of the administrative and financial burdens of running a small travel agency.

There’s never been a better time to consider starting your own travel agency, but there's a lot to consider. So, here’s our list of things you should think about in order to start your own travel agency in Australia.

 

Product Knowledge

True travel agents (not just salespeople) are passionate about travel. They have an extensive understanding of the products they promote and sell, and have experienced many of these products first hand. Travel agents provide added-value to their customers by offering impartial advice, to help their customers arrange the trip that's best-suited to their taste, desires, personality, expectations and their budget. Travel agents offer a degree of peace of mind, and will act as a conduit between the customer and the supplier, before, during and after the trip as required - even when things go wrong!

Being a great travel agent isn't easy, and simply spending a couple of nights on a yacht in the Whitsundays doesn't make you an Aussie travel expert, so find ways to gain the necessary product knowledge that you need in order to offer a great service.

  • Experience the products first-hand. Many suppliers will be willing to offer you discounted (and potentially free) trips, if you have a solid business plan and can prove you got what it takes to generate sales.
  • Speak with other travellers. Get the low-down on what's hot right now, and don't just take a few a few opinions on board - get hundreds. Canvas hostels all over town and survey other travellers about where they've been and what they've experienced.
  • Talk to other travel agents. Travel agents are generally a friendly bunch, and many would be happy to offer you tips and guidance on how to succeed in the travel industry.
  • Get valuable work experience. There are hundreds of travel agencies across Australia who are desperate for smart, savvy and motivated travel sales staff. Be upfront and tell potential employers that you're keen to work in the industry to learn as much as you can, as you would like a career in travel. Who knows, you make strike it lucky, and be offered a great job and may kick-start your travel agency career that way. (Get in touch with Hero if you'd like to explore this option, and we'll hook you up with some awesome Agents across Australia)

 

Other necessary skills

In addition to having extensive product knowledge (which will develop over time) you're also going to need:

  • Great communication skills
  • Patience
  • Attention to detail
  • Organisational skills and the ability to multi-task
  • Good maths & finance skills
  • Decent IT skills

 

What’s your sales strategy?

There are many different ways that you can go about selling travel:

  • At the most basic level, you may just want to arrange travel for friends that you meet whilst travelling Australia. You can receive enquiries by phone, txt or Facebook, and keep your costs to a minimum while providing a truly personal approach and travel at great rates. (Be sure not to sell travel within hostels who operate their own tour desks, as that ain't cool).
  • You may wish to sell online, via your blog, a website or through social media channels like Facebook. For this option you may want to create a basic website, so check out Wix, Squarespace, Weebly and WordPress, which offer easy-to-use CMS options, enabling you to build a new website with simple drag & drop functionality. If considering WordPress, be sure to check out Hero’s Wordpress Plugin.
  • If you have experience with travel sales and some money to invest in your venture, you may be keen to open a small travel shop, or rent a desk space in a hostel / language school which does not currently offers travel sales. This is a big step, but if low-risk rental terms can be agreed, it provides maximum exposure to a steady flow of potential customers.
  • Alternatively, a great way to kick-start your business is to align with an existing travel agency, and structure a partnership arrangement whereby you operate under their brand, benefit from their support services, and pay a fee / or a commission share back to the Agent. This option enables you to get up and running quickly and you'll have experienced travel agents and successful business-owners helping you out along the way...  Your success, is their success! ; )  If you think this option is something you want to pursue, contact the team at Hero and we'll put you in touch with other Hero agents who may be keen to discuss opportunities with you.


What’s your point of difference?

The travel industry is a crowded market, so to stand out from your competitors, you’ll need to decide what makes you better than the rest. Some possible unique selling points could include:

  • Honest & unbiased travel advice
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Premium / unique / specialised product range
  • Great value / pricing policy
  • Comprehensive after sales support
  • Ethical mandate, i.e supporting local charities

 

How will you purchase?

In order to act as a travel agent, you need the ability to purchase travel from a supplier and resell at a profit to your customer. In travel industry lingo, your purchase price is known as the ‘net rate’ and the amount you sell for is known as the ‘retail rate’. Your profit margin or mark-up is generally referred to as your 'commission'.

In order to establish these sales relationships, you can either contact each supplier individually, or book via an online B2B travel sales platform. A range of platforms exists, and some, such as Hero, are free for agents to use and offer access to thousands of products, including day trips, tours, accommodation, bus passes, campervan & car hire. Net rates, retail rates and commissions are already loaded into the platform, so it’s easy to see what you can earn.

 

Paying your suppliers

If you choose to purchase directly from your suppliers, you will need to agree to their payment terms. Often, for new agents, payment will be required at the time of purchase via credit card, or if credit terms are agreed, you will be required to pay the net amount in full within 7, 14 or 30 days from the sale date.

In some instances, suppliers may offer agents a deposit-only payment model, whereby the customer pays you the commission amount, and then pay the supplier the balance (net amount) upon arrival. This is an incredibly simple model, but customers may be reluctant to pay a ‘deposit’ to a small travel agent, for fear that it may be a scam.

For a more systematic option, by using an online travel booking platform such as Hero, your payments to suppliers will be aggregated into 1 simple weekly direct debit payment. The platform will then distribute payments electronically to each of your suppliers. This alleviates administration, finance and management burdens, allowing you to operate without the stress.

 

Issuing Tickets

Once you’ve sold a trip, your customers will need a ticket or travel voucher.

You can create your own vouchers, although this is not recommended, as you will be prone to human error resulting in the wrong / missing information being provided to your customers.

You can ask suppliers to email a booking confirmation directly to your customers, although there’s a strong chance that your net rate / commission amount may be accidentally shown on the booking confirmation, leading to very unhappy customers.

If using a booking platform, vouchers will be automatically generated, and can be easily downloaded, printed or emailed to your customers.

 

Taking payments

Taking payments from your customers can be a tricky affair, as people will need a level of confidence that it won’t ‘disappear’.

If selling travel to close friends, and after building up a strong reputation, this may become less of an issue, and customers may be happy to pay you in cash, or transfer money to your bank account.

Payment solutions such as PayPal may enable you to ‘request’ funds via email, rather than taking cash payments. Visit Paypal’s website to figure out if this is right for you and how much it will cost you in fees.

Alternatively, many booking platforms offer the use of their own merchant facilities, enabling you to take payments by credit card, or by emailing a payment link to your customers, allowing them to pay online. Again, fees will be incurred for each credit card payment, but you can choose to absorb these yourself (out of your commission) or your customers can pay a credit card fee, to cover associated costs.

 

Promoting yourself

To start your own travel agency and be successful you’ll need a smart marketing & promotional strategy, to ensure your sales messages reach potential customers. There are countless opportunities available, however some of the most popular include:

  • Google AdWords
  • Facebook Ads & Promoted Posts
  • YouTube Videos
  • Website SEO
  • Printed marketing material - such as business cards / brochures

 

Name your business?

Depending upon how you plan to brand yourself, you may want to choose a business name, or simply stick to your own name, for that personal touch!

If you have a business name in mind, visit the ASIC website to see if the name is currently unused, and available for you to register.

Registering your business name relatively easily. ASIC’s website is packed with handy videos and guides to help you get the name you want.

 

Register an ABN

In order to look professional and keep the tax man happy, you’re going to need an Australian Business Number, or ABN. It’s free to apply for an ABN and the process can be completed easily online via the ABR website.

 

Open a bank account

Once your business name and ABN are sorted, you'll need to open a company bank account. Speak with your local branch or call your bank's small business helpline to see what's best for you.

 

Get Insured

Be sure to speak with a specialist insurance provider to find out what cover you will require. The team at Acumen Insurance are big supporters of the Australian backpacker travel industry, so we suggest you give them a call to find out more.

 

 

The Hero travel booking platform is designed for travel agents of all sizes. If you're keen to start your own travel agency, contact us and we'll do our best to provide you with additional help and information.


We're looking forward to meeting with youth / student travel agents and products suppliers at WYSTC Belgrade in September 2016.

Dates: Tuesday, 20 - Friday, 23 September 2016
Venue: Sava Centar & Crowne Plaza Belgrade - Belgrade, Serbia

Hero is extending its product range and agent network across the globe, and welcomes discussions with interested parties.

To connect with Hero at WYSTC, contact us via our site or request an appointment within WYSTC's Marcom eSchedule system.

Meet us at the Adventure Queensland Ball, July 2016

Hero will be at the Adventure Queensland Annual Ball, taking place this year at Peppers Noosa Resort on Thursday 28 July. We're looking forward to mixing business and pleasure with tourism operators from across all over Queensland at this awesome event.

If you haven't yet got your tickets, visit to Adventure Queensland site at: http://www.adventurequeensland.com.au