Air New Zealand has acquired a cornerstone shareholding in Australian online tourism specialists V? (Vcubed Pty Ltd). The acquisition is part of the airline’s strategy to further diversify into the wider tourism sector.V? provides its open booking exchange (OBX) technology for tourism suppliers and distributors in Australia. Air New Zealand and V?, through a joint venture, will establish a similar tourism exchange in New Zealand.
The OBX is available to all tourism and travel operators and distributors and will be run in New Zealand as a standalone business, independent of Air New Zealand.
It works by allowing distributors to access live book-able inventory from tourism operators in a real-time marketplace, and has promising potential for New Zealand tourism operators.
Having enjoyed outstanding success in the Australian market, V? Chief Executive Officer Shane Crockett said, “We are extremely pleased to have Air New Zealand as a cornerstone investor and strategic partner for this breakthrough initiative in digital marketing for both the Australian and New Zealand tourism industries.”
Former Air New Zealand General Manager, Chris Hunter, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the new business.
Mr Hunter has long been involved in the tourism and travel business, holding a number of senior positions, most recently as General Manager Strategy and Planning for Flight Centre New Zealand. During his 21 years at Air New Zealand he held a range of positions including General Manager Global Direct Sales.