AUCKLAND – Philippines Travel Limited, trading as Planet Earth Travel, a leading provider of travel services, is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year amidst ambitious plans for growth. The owners are on track to transform the company by revitalising its New Zealand operations and by tapping opportunities in Australia.
The company has lined up a calendar of events to commemorate its anniversary. It kicks off celebrations with an all expenses paid conference for management, staff and travel brokers in Brisbane, Australia, from 21-24 October, staying at the Treasury Hotel. “This is a thanksgiving event and an excellent opportunity for some bonding and to reflect on our steady growth over the years with phenomenal success at consistently meeting client expectations,” said Edith Carpenter, managing director and founder of the company.
Concurrently, the company announced the appointment of Peter Carpenter as its marketing manager based in the Auckland head office. Peter will assist Edith in writing a new chapter for the company – by refreshing their nationwide operations with innovative marketing strategies and technology.
“I am responsible for the implementation and management of marketing strategies for both our New Zealand and Australian markets with a strong focus on digital marketing,” Peter told Travel Galore.
“As well as managing both online and offline media activity I support our growing NZ wide sales team with their day to day marketing activities to grow market share within their regions.”
Before taking up this senior role at Planet Earth Travel, Peter, who is a Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Auckland, gained wide ranging marketing experience working at various high-profile companies. He specialises in marketing, managing advertising campaigns, media planning and buying, conducting market research and managing website content.
Another feather in his cap is the fact that he is Google AdWords Certified. AdWords is seeing phenomenal growth globally for Google, because advertisers can now better target their advertising to maximise results.
“I think it’s the right time to bring in fresh ideas. We have to evolve to keep up with the market,” explained Peter.
“For example, when we launched our Facebook page we amassed over 10,000 ‘likes’. Lots of companies I have worked with have used ‘Facebook Chat’ with their customers; it’s just another channel that they can use. Likewise, we find that when people come to our website ‘Live Chat’ there is very popular.
“So many people interact with us via emails text, and Facebook chat … everything is being done online as no one’s got the time to come into a travel agency.”
In an earlier interview Edith explained why the company decided to upgrade its website www.planettravel.co.nz when it experienced a rapid growth in online bookings. “On our state-of-the-art, user-friendly website, customers can take care of all their travel needs from flights and cruises to tours, low cost holidays, hotel bookings, car hire and discounted insurance. Once you finalise your booking on the website you can then pay online using a credit card or through internet banking. We have the advantage of being a New Zealand based website, so it’s very, very safe. At this stage we don’t take any bookings from outside New Zealand.”
The move to an interactive online service has not been at the expense of the live customer service option. In fact, Planet Earth’s staff strength has peaked at 15 full-timers nationwide. “If you still want to speak to a Filipino travel consultant then we are here,” said Edith. “This is what differentiates us from ‘online only’ sites and it is one of our advantages that I’m particularly proud of.”
Peter is upbeat about the future of the company: “Planet Earth Travel has come a long way and we are looking forward to achieving new milestones. We are exploring opportunities in the Australian market; it’s quite new but we’re going to eventually get there. As there are a lot of kababayan moving there we’d like to keep in contact with them and offer them the great service that they get here.
“We are also reviving the ‘Philippines Travel’ branding again. We are planning very soon a new dedicated website which will help people plan their travel to the Philippines and also book packages to the Philippines www.philippinestravel.co.nz
“At the end of the day our company has a strong Philippine focus. So we will look at strengthening our relationship with Philippine Airlines plus other carriers and the Philippine Department of Tourism and see what we can do to bring Kiwis to the Philippines.
“We’d also like to see more growth in the number of groups of balikbayans returning to the old country for a reunion, especially the younger generation.”
“It’s very helpful that we now have satellite offices around the country, as we are catering to the travel requirements of both Filipinos and Kiwis in both the North and South Islands,” said Edith. “Besides Auckland you can contact us in Whangarei, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Rotorua, Palmerston North and Southland (covering Invercargill/Gore).”
Planet Earth Travel has come a long way since its humble beginning 21 years ago. It started life as ‘Philippines Travel’, serving Filipino migrants in the country, but growth was slow as this market was relatively small at that time. After having the trading name as ‘Planet Earth Travel’ the company started attracting both locals and other migrants as clients.
The recent upsurge in numbers of the Filipino population in New Zealand and the increase in the number of carriers flying to the Philippines have presented exciting new challenges. Hence the relaunch of the dedicated ‘Philippines Travel’ branding to meet the growing needs of travellers to Manila and beyond. The company has come full circle.
In conclusion Peter made this promise: “We also have other exciting things coming.”